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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
MALAWI: Malawi Village Underscores Impact of AIDS
Clare Nullis
October 20, 2005
Associated Press (10.18.05) - Thursday, October 20, 2005

In Malawi, where an estimated 900,000 of its 12 million people have HIV/AIDS, subsistence farming, a mainstay of the struggling economy, is suffering. Nationwide, the HIV/AIDS rate is over 14 percent. In some provinces such as Nsanje in the south, the rate can soar to 35 percent.

"We don't have machinery for farming, we only have manpower," explained Toby Solomon, a Napasha village commissioner. "If we are sick, or spend our time looking after family members who are sick, we have no time to spend working in the fields." Recently, President Bingu wa Mutharika declared Malawi a disaster area and appealed for international help. He warned that five million people, nearly half the population, face hunger because of a food crisis stemming in part from a drought.

About 90,000 people in Malawi die from AIDS each year, and about half the country's hospital beds hold people with AIDS- related complications. Of the estimated 140,000 Malawis who need antiretroviral drugs, only 19,000 were receiving them in June, according to the World Health Organization. The government intends to put 80,000 on treatment by the end of the year, subject to foreign funding.