Malawi: 500,000 HIV receive free treatment

Half a million people living with HIV in Malawi, one third of carriers of the AIDS virus, have free treatment is 100 times more than in 2004, said Friday the president of this little poor southern African countries severely affected by HIV.

“At present, half of the population has been tested and half a million people receive free treatment,” said Joyce Banda at a meeting with UNAIDS in the administrative capital Lilongwe.

The president, quoted by state television, also called his countrymen to “open up” on issues related to sexuality and AIDS is still largely taboo in this conservative country.

“Let’s talk openly about HIV and AIDS to end the stigma and discrimination of patients,” he told the leader who soon plans to distribute drugs last generation with “fewer side effects”.

Malawi has about 14 million inhabitants, 11.8% of HIV. In 2004, only 5,000 people were receiving free ARVs, according to health experts.

According to Ms. Banda, Malawi spent a total of $ 722 million (555 million), financed by international donors and the Global Fund against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, to fight against the pandemic.

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