Malawi, like its neighbours in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, has been severely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since the first case of HIV/AIDS was identified in May, 1985 epidemiological data has continued to show a rapidly escalating epidemic. By the end of 2001, the National HIV sero-prevalence was estimated at 10.6%, translating to about 800,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, 60% being women. About 300,000 adults and children are estimated to have died of AIDS or AIDS related diseases. The greatest impact in the public sector has been in education, agriculture and health. The poverty status of many homes has been worsened by large numbers of orphaned children.Earlier efforts to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Malawi were strengthened by the formulation of the HIV/AIDS National Strategic Framework (NSF). The framework calls for an expanded multi-sectoral response to HIV/AIDS/STIs, including the provision of Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT), Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT), treatment of opportunistic infections (OIs) and antiretroviral therapy (ARVs).In general there is no current accurate data on HIV/AIDS status in the University of Malawi. However, in keeping with the national trends for HIV/AIDS, records show increasing number of deaths amongst Academic, Administrative (A&A) and Clerical, Technical and Support (CTS) staff in all the constituent colleges of the University of Malawi. These deaths have affected teaching programmes, the financial situation and productivity of the University of Malawi. Observations also show that graduates from the UNIMA colleges die within a few years after completing their study programmes. Among UNIMA students, the last HIV sero-prevalence in 1992 showed that 2% of male students and between 4 and 7% of female students entering the University for the first time were HIV positive.The University of Malawi needs to adopt a proactive approach to matters of HIV/AIDS as they relate to staff and students. The University further needs to take a leading role in the national response to HIV/AIDS through its core business of teaching, research and management. In addition, there is need to undertake outreach services to the communities surrounding the constituent colleges. This policy document will guide the University of Malawi to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, effectively and efficiently.
University of Malawi
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