The Malawi National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan (NSP 2011 – 2016) is a follow up of the National HIV and AIDS Action Framework (NAF 2005 – 2009), which was extended to 2012. The NSP seeks to provide continued guidance to the national response to HIV and AIDS, building on work done in the past decade. It is informed by the findings of the Community and Stakeholder consultations on the National HIV and AIDS Policy Review (March 2010), the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II (2011 – 2016) and the Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP) 2011 – 2016; as well as developments in medical and scientific knowledge.
This NSP aims to reduce new infections by 20% through reductions of children’s infection by 30% and adult infections by 15%. AIDS deaths will be reduced by 8% which will include 50% reduction of children’s death. Since the future course of the HIV and AIDS epidemic hinges in many respects on behaviour change, the NSP addresses the reduction of the number of new infections among people in the 15- 24 age group.
The interventions that are needed to reach the NSP’s goals are structured under five key priority areas of (a) prevention of primary and secondary transmission of HIV; (b) Improvement in the quality of treatment, care and support services for PLHIV; (c) reduction of vulnerability to HIV infection among various population groups; (d) strengthening multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary coordination and implementation of HIV and AIDS programs; and (e) strengthening monitoring and evaluation of the national HIV and AIDS response. An assessment of the implementation of the NAF has been useful in defining the capacities of the implementing agencies.
The implementation plan of the NSP further takes into consideration geographic variations whereby some regions of Malawi are more severely affected than others. Based on the review of epidemiological and socio-cultural issues the NSP, among other things, addresses the (a) high prevalence of unprotected heterosexual sex, multiple and concurrent sexual partnerships and discordance in long-term couples; (b) increased numbers of people in need of antiretroviral therapy; (c) low and inconsistent use of condoms; and, (d) gender inequalities, including harmful cultural practices that put women at greater risk to HIV infection.