Rumphi District Senior Nutrition, HIV and Aids Officer, Blessings Kanyangale has urged stakeholders in the health sector to scale-up community awareness meetings on the importance for people living with HIV and Aids to adhere to Anti-Retroviral Therapy ( ART) treatment.

Kanyangale said on Monday that Rumphi District Health Office has noted that ART default rate is on the increase in the district, a development he feared could result in increased new HIV infections in the district.

“When people living with HIV and Aids default from taking Anti- Retroviral drugs (ARVs), chances are high that we may have new infections as the virus develops resistance to the drugs thereby making it difficult to prevent the spread of the virus,” Kanyangale said.

He therefore appealed for concerted efforts in raising awareness on the side effects of failing to adhere to ART.

In an exclusive interview with Malawi News Agency, a member of Mhuju Support Group, Bernard Mbale, said most people default ART treatment due to lack of privacy in some health facilities.

“Most of HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC) rooms are close to Out-Patient Department (OPD) and maternity wards and compromises privacy of people living with HIV and Aids,” said Mbale.

Mbale also attributed the challenge to inadequate knowledge of Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) on how to trace and handle defaulters.

In his response to the issues, Rumphi District Health Office Spokesperson, Bwanalori Mwamulima said he would engage Health Centre Advisory Committees (HCACs) to address all issues concerning privacy of ART clients in the concerned health facilities.

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