Malawi Reduces AIDS-Related Deaths With Increased Access to No-Cost Antiretrovirals
Increased access to no-cost antiretroviral drugs has contributed to a 75% decrease in AIDS-related deaths in Malawi in the last four years, a senior government official said Monday, Reuters reports. According to Reuters, HIV/AIDS has been linked to 59% of deaths among people between ages 15 and 59 in the country of 13 million. However, Malawi has made progress since 2004, when it started offering no-cost antiretrovirals to thousands of HIV-positive people, Reuters reports.
Mary Shawa, Malawi's principle secretary for HIV/AIDS, said, "I am happy that AIDS-related deaths have decreased by over 75% over the last four years in comparison with AIDS-related deaths we had in 2003 to 2004 because of increased free treatment."
According to Reuters, there have been about 800,000 AIDS-related deaths recorded in Malawi since the first case of the disease was reported in 1985. As of March, the government had provided 159,111 people with access to no-cost antiretrovirals, of whom 106,547 still are alive. Shawa said, "This represents a 67% survival rate. But we still need to do more, because those who did not make it may have died because they started the treatment late or did not have access to proper nutrition" (Banda, Reuters, 8/25).