5 July 2014

Malawi: Unsafe Sex Irks HIV/Aids Fighters

Lilongwe — The Principal Secretary in the Department of Nutrition and HIV/Aids in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Edith Mkawa has faulted the mechanisms utilized to dispatch messages of HIV/Aids in early 1990s saying it contributed to the increased transmission of the virus.

Speaking to Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Wednesday, the PS attributed that people in the country did not understand fully the concepts of HIV and Aids because of traditional norms which influenced the spreading of the deadly disease.

"People are resisting from adapting change to protect themselves from contracting HIV, though they know HIV is deadly; however, this depends on how they understand the concept of HIV/Aids in the first place," said Mkawa.

She added that Government through the Ministry of Health and its partners are developing strategies aimed at fighting the virus and protect people in order to continue developing the country since it is only the healthy people who can effectively participate in the economic development of this nation.

"We are working with faith based organizations to curb stigma and discrimination because people living with HIV find it hard to live without being encouraged and comforted," she said. National Aids Commission (NAC) HIV/Aids Behavioral Change and Intervention Specialist, Dr. Linje Manyozo reiterated that people in the country deliberately indulge into unprotected sex despite the knowledge of using condoms to protect their partners or themselves from contracting and transmitting the HIV.

"The Mode of Transmission Study (MOT) has revealed that married couples and civilized (people living in towns) are at great risk of contracting the virus," Manyozo said.

Manyozo, however said that NAC will use the findings of the MOT research to develop focus areas where interventions should be made as regards to HIV prevention.

"I do not know what we can call it if people choose not to use condoms when making sex," he said.

He further said the assignment of NAC is to coordinate, produce and distribute messages to concerned parties including all hot spots where sexual acts are on extensive so promote HIV prevention.

Dr Manyozo has since advised young people in the country to have their blood tested to better plan for their future.

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