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‘Urgent action’ needed in fight against Aids

Blantyre - Aids-ravaged Malawi, where over a tenth of the population is HIV positive, records on average 1,000 new cases weekly, a top government official said Saturday.

“It’s a great concern to us that despite efforts by government to prevent HIV and Aids, the country continues to register about 1,000 new cases of HIV every week,” Edith Mkawa, a senior health ministry secretary in charge of nutrition, HIV and Aids, told reporters.

A woman uses an oral test for HIV. File picture: Jacquelyn Martin. Credit: Associated Press

“The number is very high. It is frustrating the fight against HIV pandemic,” she said.

Mkawa said Malawi, where 11.8 percent of the 14 million citizens are HIV positive, “needs urgent action to attain zero new HIV infections.”

People “are not changing their behaviours. These behaviours are fuelling the spread of HIV at an alarming rate.”

The southern African nation has 350,000 people receiving free anti-retroviral drugs, up from 5,000 in 2004. - Sapa-AFP

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