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Malawi to commemorate 2019 International Aids Candlelight Memorial July 21

Written by  MBC Online

Malawi, with over one million people living with HIV and close to 800, 000 receiving antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, will on Sunday, July 21, commemorate the International Aids Candlelight Memorial (IACM) at Nasawa technical college ground in Zomba, to raise social consciousness about HIV and Aids, the Ministry of Health said in a statement on Thursday.

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“The IACM serves as a community mobilization campaign to raise social consciousness about HIV and Aids, an important intervention for solidarity, and giving hope to all people that are living with HIV,” Dan Namarika, secretary for Ministry of Health and Population, said in the statement.

 

This year’s IACM will be observed under the theme ‘Intensifying the fight for Health and Rights.’

 

“The Ministry is calling upon all stakeholders to intensify fight for health and rights for all people affected by HIV and reminding the general public that those most affected by HIV epidemic, particularly people living with HIV, need to continue to be at the forefront in the fight for the right to life and the right to health.

 

“This includes fighting for universal, comprehensive and sustainable treatment, care and prevention services, and intensifying work around human rights, stigma minimization, inclusive social and economic justice,” Namarika added.


Health experts say Malawi is on track to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by 2020, which include 90 percent of people with HIV knowing their status, 90 percent of these accessing ARVS and 90 percent of those on treatment being virally suppressed. Currently, at least 89 percent of people living with HIV are on Antiretroviral Treatment (ART).

 

Namarika concedes that the HIV and AIDS Response is facing diverse social, political and financial problems which are affecting the strength and sustainability of people living with HIV.

 

“Civil society support, particularly for advocacy and for networks led by people living with HIV, is declining. Ongoing human rights violations against those most marginalized, has victimized more people living with HIV to multiple risks which has threatened the hard fought benefits made in the HIV and AIDS Response,” he said.

 

The commemoration will be presided over by the Minister of Health and Population Jappie Mhango.

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