The National Aids Commission (NAC) says Malawian men continue to shun HIV testing services, a practice that could increase the risk of further spreading the virus that causes Aids.
The commission has therefore identified new strategies to specifically target areas and groups where men are involved, to promote self-testing.
Speaking during an HIV and Aids Research and Best Practices Dissemination Conference this week in Lilongwe, NAC chief executive officer Davie Kalomba said the number of men taking part in HIV testing was low.
Kalomba that since most men are ignorant of their HIV status and do not access care and treatment, they were increasing the risk of further spreading the virus.
With the ‘test and treat’ initiative, this means that the men who test HIV positive have a lower chance of lowering the viral load as a measure of reducing transmission.
“Most men do not go for HIV testing and for the very few that do go, even fewer start receiving treatment,” Kalomba said.
A report compiled by One Community (OneC) designed to mitigate the impact of HIV and prevent new infections, stated that men present at clinics had advanced HIV and “very low viral load suppression” rates.
OneC conducted the study at three clinics in Blantyre between June 2017 and June 2018 where a focus on high-risk men yielded an increase in the proportion of men tested for HIV from 41 percent to 56 percent.
In the research, OneC used trained male champions to bring HTS closer to men at times and locations that are convenient to them.
Ministry of Health HIV and Aids director Rose Nyirenda said the ministry was working with NAC and other stakeholders in a door-to-door HIV testing strategy and implement a target audience HIV testing strategy