Malawi to Provide 150,000 People With AIDS Drugs
July 9, 2007
The head of Malawi's National AIDS Commission (NAC) said Monday that the nation has set a goal of providing antiretrovirals (ARVs) to 150,000 HIV patients by year's end. The new target was made possible by an infusion of cash from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
"We are close to 110,000 people on ARVs, and we hope to hit 150,000 by the end of December when we launch a massive scale-up of the drugs," beginning in September, said Biziwick Mwale, NAC's head.
Only 5,000 Malawians benefited from the 2004 launch of the country's first free ARV program. If the nation meets its new target, about three-quarters of patients needing ARVs would be receiving them by the end of the year. Since 2004, the number of people testing for HIV annually in Malawi has grown from 50,000 to 500,000.
Huge challenges remain, however. Malawi, a landlocked nation of 12 million, has just 150 doctors on the state payroll. The HIV prevalence rate is 14 percent, and about 78,000 deaths a year are AIDS-related.
Agence France Presse
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.