Youth in the limelight as Malawi commemorates World AIDS Day

The Ministry of Health has expressed commitment to curbing the high prevalence rate of HIV infections amongst the youth in the country.

This follows revelations from a recent National Aids Commission (NAC) report which indicates that young people aged 15-17 in the country account for 50 percent of new HIV infections.

Public Relations Officer for the Ministry, Joshua Malango said government is committed to ensure that the rate of HIV infections amongst young people drops.

He added that the Ministry is engaging with different stakeholders to sensitize the youth on the importance of abstinence.

“We are encouraging young people to avoid premarital sex but if they can’t we advise them to use condoms to fight the pandemic,” he said.

Currently government’s policy prohibits young people from possessing condoms within the school campus, unless they are 100 meters away from the school.

Organizations and individuals have been advocating for the change of the policy and for the introduction of contraceptives in schools, to ease access amongst young people to ensure their protection from sexually transmitted infections.

Malango said the ministry will soon hold a meeting to discuss the introduction of contraceptives in schools.

“The minister is to call a meeting with relevant stakeholders and representatives from secondary schools to discuss the way forward,” he elaborated.

An estimated 34 million people are living with HIV in the world.

More than 35 million people worldwide have died from the pandemic, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Current statistics indicate that around one million Malawians are living with HIV.

Malawi joined the rest of the world in commemorating World AIDS Day on December 1 under the theme “The Right to Health: Access to Quality HIV Prevention and Treatment Services”.

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