HIV was first reported in Malawi in 1985, and the prevalence rapidly increased to its peak of 26% in 1998, the height of Malawi’s generalized epidemic. By 2010, the adult prevalence had decreased to 10.6%, or approximately 920,000 Malawians affected by the epidemic. Estimates from 2010 also indicate that there are approximately 84,000 new HIV infections each year. HIV prevalence varies by geographic area, with 17.4% prevalence in urban areas and 8.9% in rural areas. Malawi’s decline in incidence can be attributed to behavior change in urban areas, as well as in the introduction of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in rural areas. The stigma of HIV and AIDS is on the decline in Malawi; data from the 2010 Malawi Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) suggest that 80-98% of adults aged 15 to 49 feel that a teacher with HIV should be allowed to continue teaching. In addition, they are more likely to care for a family member with HIV and to buy vegetables from a shopkeeper with HIV. However, the 2010 DHS also shows that there is still reluctance to reveal a family member’s status (71% of women prefer to keep this secret vs. 58% of men). Additionally, only 73% of adults aged 15-49 know that condoms can prevent HIV, and of those adults who reported sex with multiple partners the minority (16% of women and 20% of men) reported condom use at last sex.
Read more about the project’s activities in Malawi on our resource page.