Despite these encouraging results, it is clear that HIV prevalence among sex workers remains unacceptably high.29 Data from the BBSS 2014 suggest positive trends in the adoption of safer behaviours by female sex workers that may help to further reduce HIV transmission in the coming years.
For example, the proportion of female sex workers reporting using a condom with their most recent client was extremely high (85%).30 Sex workers in Malawi face high levels of discrimination and stigma when seeking HIV services further increasing their vulnerability to HIV, especially from police when seeking victim support services.31 An estimated 84,000 children (0-14 years) were living with HIV in 2015 of whom 61% (51,487) are receiving antiretroviral treatment.32 Malawi has shown immense progress in reducing child HIV infection rates.
Aniva should “be investigated for exposing the young girls to contracting HIV and further be charged accordingly,” Mutharika added.
“Harmful cultural and traditional practices cannot be accepted.” The sexual cleansing ritual is also performed on bereaved widows in Nsanje district to exorcise villages of evil spirits or to prevent another death occurring.
However, homosexuality was decriminalised in 2012 and it is hoped that this legal change will eventually bring more support for this underserved, high-risk population.26 Many men who have sex with men face increased levels of stigma and violence in Malawi.
A 2016 survey of around 200 men who have sex with men found 39% had experienced a human rights abuse in some form.
Over the last decade, impressive efforts to reduce the HIV epidemic have been made at both national and local levels.
New infections have dramatically declined from 98,000 new infections in 2005, to 28,000 new infections in 2015/2016.5 Malawi has also witnessed a reduction in children acquiring HIV, with New 4,800 new infections in 2015, a decline from 16,000 in 2010.6 The Malawian HIV epidemic varies greatly across the country.
If found guilty of underage sex, Aniva could be imprisoned for life.
Malawi’s HIV prevalence is one of the highest in the world, with 10.6% of the adult population (aged 15-64) living with HIV.1 Malawi accounts for 4% of the total number of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.2 An estimated 980,000 Malawians were living with HIV in 2015 and 27,000 Malawians died from HIV-related illnesses in the same year.3 The Malawian HIV epidemic plays a critical role in the country’s low life expectancy of just 57 years for men and 60 years for women.4 The Malawian HIV epidemic plays a critical role in the country’s low life expectancy - just 57 years for men and 60 for women.
Around 12% reported being raped and 18% had been blackmailed.