The launch of the survey has been made possible with technical support from ICAP at Columbia University, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
According to the statement MPHIA 2020 will measure the reach and impact of the country’s HIV prevention, care and treatment services.
“This nationwide household survey aims to estimate how many people have new infections (HIV incidence); how many people are currently living with HIV (HIV prevalence); and how many people living with HIV are on effective treatment (HIV viral load suppression) in Malawi.
“The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 targets call for 90% of all people living with HIV to know their HIV status, 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV to receive antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral treatment to have viral suppression,’’ reads the statement in part.
The statement said the information is critical to help Malawi chart a course to reach the 90-90-90 targets and ultimately bring the HIV epidemic under control. Survey staff members, trained in confidentiality procedures, will visit approximately 15,000 randomly selected households across the 27 districts of the country.
They will collect, in a confidential manner, demographic, clinical, and behavioral information, with voluntary informed consent from all participants. HIV counseling will be provided, and staff will collect small amounts of blood from the arm to perform free rapid HIV testing. HIV test results will be returned to participants the same day.
Those who test positive for HIV will also receive a test measuring the levels of immune cells (CD4) and levels of HIV virus (viral load) testing in their blood and be referred to healthcare facilities to help start HIV treatment.
It’s also on record that the MPHIA 2020 project will also provide technical assistance at the national level to strengthen data collection systems; enhance laboratory infrastructure; and strengthen local human resource capacity.