During the second annual HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC) week held by the Malawi Ministry of Health, 71 percent of the people tested learned their HIV status for the first time. A total of 186,631 people were testing during the awareness week — a 92 percent increase from last year.
The nation-wide HTC week was held July 16-21, 2007. Approximately 1,367 HTC sites offered services during the awareness week. A majority of the testing sites were mobile, providing a way to reach people in rural areas. Reaching rural populations — historically a very difficult population to reach — was critical to the success of the HTC week.
“Let me take this opportunity to sincerely thank and pass my profound gratitude and appreciation to the members of the public who responded to this campaign and were tested and counseled for HIV. I trust the knowledge of their HIV status will enable them to plan their lives accordingly,” Minister of Health Marjorie Ngaunje MP said.
Among people tested, HIV prevalence was 8.4 percent. Health care workers referred HIV-positive people to treatment and care facilities. Malawi’s national HIV prevalence rate is 14.4 percent, with prevalence higher in urban areas than rural ones.
HTC week is part of the National HIV and AIDS Policy goal of testing one million people by the end of 2007. The National AIDS Commission estimates that only 15 percent of the roughly 12 million Malawians are aware of their HIV status.