Ministry of health says the country has performed exceptionally well towards the attainment of UNAIDS 95:95:95 targets.

The targets stipulate that 95% of those living with HIV should know their HIV status; 95% of those that have been diagnosed with HIV should be on Anti-retroviral drugs; and 95% of those on ARVs should have their viral load suppressed by 2025.

Speaking during a press conference in Lilongwe, secretary for health, Dr Charles Mwansambo said as a nation we have attained 88:98:97 against the set targets of 95:95:95.

According to Mwansambo the Ministry of health is optimistic that by 2025 all targets will be achieved.

“By the end of 2021, about one million people living with HIV knew their HIV status of which about 900,000 were on ARVs and almost 826,000 had their viral load suppressed. We are lagging behind on the first 95 due to poor health-seeking behavior especially among men and boys,” Dr Mwansambo

He says the country has also significantly reduced cases of new infections from around 56,000 in 2010 to around 17,400 in 2022. AIDS-related deaths have also been on the decline from around 32,000 in 2010 to around 11,500 in 2022.

However, the PS says new HIV infections are still high in some subpopulations such as Adolescent Girls and Young Women in urban areas especially in Blantyre and Lilongwe due to social cultural and economic factors which make them more vulnerable to HIV than their male counterparts.

Meanwhile, Mwansambo revealed that “during the launch of International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, the country will also be launching the T=T campaign. T=T stands for Tizilombo tochepa ta HIV = Thanzi labwino.”

He says this is a campaign for advancement of HIV treatment literacy and improved viral load testing among people living with HIV.

This year’s international AIDS Candlelight Memorial will be held on Sunday, 19th June 2022 at Mmanga Primary School Ground in Balaka. The theme of the event is “We remember; We take Action; We live beyond HIV”