Malawi’s President Says Antiretroviral Drugs, Proper Nutrition Must Be Used Together To Fight HIV/AIDS
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika on Monday said that "boosting th[e] nutritional capacities" of HIV-positive Malawians should go "hand in hand" with providing low-cost antiretroviral drugs to effectively curb the country's HIV epidemic, Xinhuanet reports. Speaking in Malawi's capital city Lilongwe during events marking the country's Labor Day, Mutharika said that recent studies show that HIV-positive people who maintain a healthful diet respond better to antiretroviral drugs than those who are malnourished. Mary Shawa, Malawi's principal secretary for HIV/AIDS and nutrition, said the nutrition of most Malawians is poor, especially those living with HIV/AIDS. "Progression of HIV among [HIV-positive] Malawians is being accelerated because of people's poor nutritional capacity, a situation that is making them require [antiretroviral drugs] early," Shawa said. According to Xinhuanet, about one million of Malawi's 11.6 million residents are HIV-positive. With help from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the government by December 2005 was providing no cost antiretroviral drugs to about 40,000 HIV-positive people (Xinhuanet, 5/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.