Aids in Malawi

The first report of Aids in Malawi was made in 1985, however, at that time the country was ruled by the dictator President Banda who held religious beliefs that effectively banned the discussion of sex related topics.

Given the ensuing lack of education and the dangers of the rapid spread of the infection, the rate of people testing positive for Aids rose alarmingly to around 30% of the population in some cases. Banda was replaced as president in 1994 and the new president, Bakili Muluzi, publicly acknowledged the serious epidemic the country was facing and pledged to respond to the crisis.

However, AIDS had become so widespread that by 2002 70% of hospital deaths were AIDs related and across the country teachers, farmers and all sections of society were so badly effected that crops could not be harvested, children had no teachers to educate them and many workers could not work as they had to care for relatives dying from AIDs related illnesses. Of the 7,900,000 children in Malawi around 91,000 are infected with AIDS and a further 550,000 have become orphaned (left) after their parents died of the illness. With such a high death rate there are insufficient adults to care for these children in an already impoverished country that has just one doctor for every 27,000 citizens and 45% of the population is under 16yrs old.

Today 10-11% of those aged between 15-49 are infected, although higher in areas such as Chiradzulu where the prevalence if 17%. Today Malawi is recognised as as taking a proactive and widely hailed effort to address AIDS with improved access to treatment and prevention initiatives, however in a poor country with six different language groups reflecting different cultural norms, it is proving outside the financial reach of the government and what international assistance is on offer to reach all sectors of society. Efforts to get the message out there even include prevention messages printed inside school exercise books. The above video explores the current AIDs situation in Malawi where AIDS is still the leading cause of death amongst adults whilst the chart below shows AIDS prevalence for chidlren in Malawi compared with some of its neighbours


Aids Malawi

Aids Malawi

Aids Malawi

Aids Malawi


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Aids Malawi: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Country AIDS 15-49yrs % % Children with AIDS % Children Orphaned by AIDS
Malawi 11% 1.15% 6.96%
Mozambique 11.5% 0.88% 3.53%
Tanzania 5.6% 0.64% 4.45%
Zambia 13.5% 1.42% 8.97%
Madagascar 0.2% No data 0.03%

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