Blantyre — President Arthur Peter Mutharika says Malawi was the first country to adopt a policy of putting all HIV positive pregnant and breast feeding women on anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs regardless of their CD4 Count.
Mutharika said this at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre recently during the signing of the Protect the Goal Campaign as a sign of commitment to the fight against HIV and Aids.
The President said with respect to prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, Malawi was the first country to adopt the policy.
"With respect to prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, Malawi was the first country to adopt a policy of putting all HIV positive pregnant and breast feeding women on ARVs regardless of their CD4 Count.
"This has significantly reduced the number of children born with HIV and has taken Malawi closer to the door steps of an HIV free generation.
"Malawi has come a long way in the fight against HIV and Aids. As a country, we have continued to scale up interventions that work. Already more than seven million people almost half of the population of this country have been tested for HIV and have received their results.
"Nearly half a million people have been put on life-prolonging ARVs. Today all AntiretroviralTreatment(ART) clients are on a better treatment regimen, with less side effects as recommended by the World Health Organisation," said Mutharika.
The Malawi leader said Malawi has reduced the national HIV prevalence rate from 16 percent recorded in 2004 to 10.3 percent in 2013 and that the country has also reduced the number of new HIV infections from 130,000 recorded in 1994 to 34, 000 in 2013.
The President added that the number of annual Aids related deaths has also declined from 94, 000 recorded in 2004 to 46, 000 in 2013.
"Despite these achievements, you will agree with me that the rate of new HIV infections in Malawi is very high by any standard and is a serious threat to the national response to HIV and Aids.
"The other challenge is that the HIV prevalence rate among young people aged between 15 and 24 years is at 3.6 percent with highest rates registered among girls at 5.2 percent and today 310,000 of our young people are living with HIV," added the Malawi leader.