The 2014 UNAIDS Gap Report recognizes Malawi’s tremendous progress towards eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV. According to the latest epidemiological projections, Malawi achieved the largest reduction in infant infection rates in the world:
This achievment was based on a new policy for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission - developed and first implemeted in Malawi in 2011 - making life-long ART available for all HIV infected pregnant and breastfeeding women, regardless of clinical stage or CD4 count. This has resulted in a 66% reduction of vertical transmission within 3 years. This Malawi-pioneered strategy has since been included in global guidance by World Health organisation (WHO). As of February 2014, 12 other African countries were implementing Option B+.
Malawi has passed an important milestone in June 2014: Over half a million patients are now alive on ART!
This is equivalent to 50% of the total HIV positive population and it means that close to 1 out of 20 Malawian adults is now living on ART. This achievement seemed purely aspirational only a few years ago.
Each quarter since 2005, the Department of HIV and AIDS has published an HIV Program Reports with many service statistics and program updates.
Here are some of the highlights from the latest Integrated HIV Program Report for July - September 2014:
Malawi's latest National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS (2015-2020) aims to meet the ambitious 90-90-90 Treatment Targets released by UNAIDS in 2014, preparing to control the HIV epidemic by 2030.
By the end of 2020, Malawi will have:
Reaching these 90-90-90 targets in 2020 will result in 760,000 (73%) of the projected 1,042,000 PLHIV being virally suppressed, leading to a dramatic reduction in sexual and vertical transmission at the population level.
Early Antiretroviral treatment (ART) is the most powerful intervention available to prevent HIV morbidity and mortality, particularly in the context of Malawi's health services with limited capacity to diagnose and manage HIV-related diseases. There is overwhelming evidence, including from Malawi, that early ART reduces the risk of TB and AIDS-defining illnesses.
Malawi's rapid and successful ART scale-up from 2004 to 2014 has critically influenced the HIV epidemic, reducing mortality, morbidity, and transmission.
In the one decade since starting the national treatment program: