Background Information onHIV/AIDS Status in MalawiViz. Malawi Defence Forces
With up to 25% of the of the population of Malawi infected with HIV/AIDS, it is very likely that the percentage in the military could be between 2-5 times that rate. Malawi is anxious to take drastic, creative and effective measures to not only address the rate of infection in their ranks, but to also extend their influence to surrounding communities. By serving as a role model to other men and future candidates, it is their goal to address and eliminate risky behavior and community influences that could place the Malawi Defence Force personnel in a position to make un-wise decisions.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic will have a dramatic impact on Malawi's population growth in a decade, according to a new report submitted during the Barcelona Global AIDS Summit.The study forecast that by 2010, the country's population would be nearly one-third lower than it would have been without AIDS and that the economy would have declined by one-third. By the year 2010, it is projected that the average life expectancy will drop from 59.4 years to 26.7 as a direct result of the HIV/ AIDS situation. The report also noted that up to 44.98 percent of the women in Malawi are infected with HIV.
Militaries composed largely of young men who are far from home and frequently exposed to danger, are at especially high risk for HIV infection.Though African countries are working feverishly to develop a national HIV/ AIDS programs, little attention from a national perspective is being directed to the threat that HIV/ AIDS poses to military personnel. Only spotty reporting of HIV prevalence in militaries is available, and only a handful of countries say that they test their troops.
Direct information on current HIV prevalence rates in the Malawi Defence Force is unavailable but it is expected to be as much as 2 to 5 times higher than the rates of the general population.
Our main objective is to reduce the spread of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases among members of the military.The program is designed to:
- provideHIV/AIDS education to the military
- increase the distribution ofcondoms to personnel
- provide epidemiological surveillance data on the troops
To achieve these objectives, the military and ResourceLinC are working aggressively to change the mindset and ultimately the behavior of the BDF personnel.
This program is still running and is integrated into the public health and clinical programs run at the regional and district levels.