Male Population in Malawi Hesitant to Know HIV Status, Adhere to Medication: Bishops


Catholic Bishops in Malawi have raised concerns over what they say is the failure of a majority of the country's male population to know their HIV status and to adhere to medication when they test positive. 

“Most men and boys living with HIV, do not know their status, are not on ART (Antiretroviral Therapy) and if they are, they do not adhere to it,” the members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) say in a Thursday, April 29 report

They say that this is because most of the male population in the Southern African country “are in denial when it comes to HIV and feel they are not at risk.”

The Catholic Church leaders add that “men also feel they cannot cope with a positive result or they are too busy to seek healthcare.”

In cases where the men test positive for the virus, the Bishops express concern that they “do not start treatment as they feel ART is for sick people, is a burden and fear that others will find out they are on ART.”


“Worse still,” the members of ECM say, “the few who start treatment, do not adhere to it because they are feeling better.”

According to the 2020 statistics by Avert, the percentage of men living with HIV, on ART and virally suppressed was lower than that of women (61% compared to 79%) in 2018. 

Officials of the UK-based charity that provides information about HIV worldwide say the difference “is a direct result of the majority of Malawian men living with HIV being unaware of their HIV status.” 

In an effort to address HIV stigma and discrimination in the male population of the landlocked Southern African nation, officials of the Health and Communications Commissions at ECM organized meetings with the male students and staff at the Machinga Teachers’ Training College and DMI St. John University in the Diocese of Mangochi. 

“This was to address concerns men and boys have, clear myths and misconceptions and influence men and boys to have the habit of going for HIV testing and if found positive, they should start treatment immediately and adhere to it,” Catholic Bishops in Malawi say. 

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They add, “An HIV test is the only way to know your HIV status. ART will help you have an undetectable viral load if you adhere to it.”

“Together we raise the Voice of Hope! Strong Men stand together in health for Body and Soul. Go for HIV testing, start ART and adhere to it for an HIV free Church and Nation,” ECM members say.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.