Health officials in Chitipa disclosed that the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the district has reduced from 3.17 to 3.1 percent.
Chitipa District HIV testing supervisor Boyce Nyirongo stated this on the closure of a one week HIV/AIDS testing and counselling campaign. The campaign was organized by the Foundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS), one of the renowned local organization dealing with health issues in the country.
According to Nyirongo, campaigns have assisted in community awareness to know they can protect themselves.
“I have to commend FOCUS for the program. Some organizations are failing to carry out such projects in the district” said Nyirongo.
He further stated that only two people out of seventy tested positive in centers where FOCUS organized the HIV/AIDS testing and counselling services.
Many couples in the community patornised the testing and counselling services. They however the community asked FOCUS to introduce permanent HIV/AIDS testing and counselling service centers in their areas.
Only one health center offers HIV Testing and Counselling.
“We have been living without knowing our status due lack of such services in our area. With our economic status, it is difficult for us to find K3, 000 for transport to access HIV Testing anɗ counselling services” they explained.
In his remarks, Tiwonge Chile from FOCUS expressed satisfaction with the overwhelming response by the community toward the program.
Chile said his organization is committed to assisting communities throughout the district to know their HIV status.
However, he illustrated concern that the community is failing to access such services due to distance.
“As an organization, we are very happy with the community’s response toward the program. However, we recognise that the community is failing to access HIV/AIDS testing and counselling services ɗue to distance . We intend to work hand in hand with government to see how to eliminate the problem,” said Chile.
During the exercise, the organization was also distributing condoms to the tested people.
FOCUS carried the program under the two years project called Intensifying for Impact against HIV/AIDS and TB with financial support from the Global Fund through Action Aid. The program is operational in Karonga and Chitipa districts.