380 000+ Malawians on free HIV drugs
05 October 2011, 13:04
Blantyre - Aids-ravaged Malawi has 383 000 people on free anti-retrovirals (ARVs), up from 5 000 when the programme started seven years ago, health authorities said Wednesday.
"I am pleased to report that 74 000 new patients were put on anti-retroviral therapy putting the number of patients ever started on ART at 383 000," Thomas Bisika, director of the National Aids Commission said in a statement.
About 14% of the country's 13 million citizens are infected with HIV, the virus that causes Aids, according to official figures.
Malawi launched the free anti-Aids drugs scheme in 2004 with 5 000 initial beneficiaries.
The poor southern African nation has 90 000 new annual infections, largely among young people and women, according to UNAIDS.
The World Bank gave Malawi a $30m grant two years ago to prevent HIV infections and speed up the roll-out of free drugs.