With a national average adult HIV prevalence of 10.6% and about 50,000 deaths annually associated with HIV, Malawi, like most countries in the Southern African region still faces a severe HIV epidemic with resultant socio-economic development challenges.
Early sex initiation before the age of 15 years is high with relatively high HIV prevalence among those aged 16-19 years at 11.7% (2010 MDHS). The continuing new infections are attributed to several factors among which the lack of safer sex negotiation skills among adolescents is paramount. While WHO recommends Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC) for communities at risk, among adult males only 2.5% in the Northern, 10.1% in the Central and 37.8% in the southern regions of Malawi are circumcised.
Current health promotion emphasis/messaging:
- Early detection, prevention and adherence to treatment
- Care and Support through HIV Testing and Counselling
- Avoidance of unprotected sex and use of male and female condoms
- Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission and keeping mothers alive through ARTs
- Medical male circumcision
- STI prevention and treatment as well as partner communication about HIV and AIDS.