Minister of Health and Population Services Atupere Muluzi on Saturday launched HIV self-testing at Jenda Trading Centre in Mzimba, during World Aids Day commemorations under the theme ‘know your status.’
Muluzi said HIV self – testing will help many people, including those who were afraid to meet hospital personnel for a test, to know their HIV status.
He said Malawi has about 300 000 people, living with HIV/AIDS, but do not know their status because of some reasons including stigma.
“Such reasons hinder a number of people to go for HIV testing, as a result transmission of HIV is high in the country,” he said.
Muluzi urged Malawians to participate in self-testing and get treatment if found positive.
“We all need to get tested for HIV/AIDS. Self–test is there to help those who were unable to go for HIV test because of feeling uncomfortable with the presence of doctors and nurses, ot other reasons,” he said.
He said only those who know their status are able to plan well for their lives, and capable to contribute to national development.
“It is important for a person to know his or her health status for them to take care of themselves better and contribute to the development of the nation effectively,” he said.
He urged the youth to take part in self-testing, saying negligence among them is contributes to new infections.
Inkosi ya Makhosi Mmbelwa the fifth advised people to accept and adopt new technologies such as HIV self-testing and medical male circumcision.
He said, “I am thankful that the services that we were lacking are now available and I urge people to take utilize this chance.
He advised those found positive to take medication as recommended by health personnel.
United Nations Aid (UN) Representative Tales Puari welcomed the innovation saying it will help
people to know their HIV status and get medication as soon as possible, when found positive.
She said, “This HIV self – testing is confidential. Everybody can have a test and know their status on their own.” She urged the youth to use condoms if they fail to abstain.