Malawi has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, with over 9% of the population living with HIV.1 The country faces a major challenge in preventing a new generation from becoming infected with HIV and caring for those already living with the virus.
Avert's work in Malawi
Avert has been working in partnership with the Umunthu Foundation since 2010 to provide HIV testing, prevention and treatment services in Bangwe and Limbe, peri-urban townships in the Blantyre region of Malawi.
The Umunthu Foundation is the only organisation delivering vital HIV information, counselling and testing to local people of all ages. The partnership enables the community to educate and protect themselves, know their HIV status and access the support they need.
Without Umunthu we wouldn’t know our HIV status and we wouldn’t have any support.
- Umunthu youth beneficiary
Umunthu’s work provides many thousands of local people at risk of HIV with access to free and vital life-saving HIV services. These are based at two local government health centres and at Umunthu’s own clinic in the heart of the local community.
In 2017, Umunthu conducted a baseline study to inform their work which highlighted significant gaps in the HIV response that Umunthu plans to address.
Services provided include:
- HIV testing, monitoring and treatment
- services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV
- youth education programmes in schools and youth clubs
- small loan programme to support travel and nutrition
- sexual health information and advice
- paralegal support for people living with HIV
I get support and encouragement from the other members of the group and friends. Other women in the community come to me because they know I am a member of Umunthu and tell me their status and ask for advice.
- Umunthu support group member
Doreen was 30 years old and pregnant when she tested positive for HIV at the Avert-supported Umunthu clinic. She was frightened that the virus would be transmitted to her unborn baby.
With support from her counsellor, Doreen was referred for treatment to prevent her baby becoming infected. When the time came, Doreen gave birth to a healthy baby girl which she had not dreamed was possible. She is now continuing to take antiretroviral treatment.
“I am very grateful to everyone at the project. Thank you.”
Photo credit: ©Corrie Wingate for Avert (top) and ©Avert (right). Images used on this site are for illustrative purposes only. They do not imply any health status or behaviour on the part of the people in the photo.