Malawi Journalists Join the Fight to End AIDS in Children
This February, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) hosted a field visit for journalists to witness EGPAF’s impact on the fight to end AIDS in children in Malawi.
Both local and international reporters met adolescents living with HIV who have found solace, friendship, and hope through an EGPAF-supported program that helps break the HIV silence among adolescents. EGPAF’s teen club is a monthly youth group where HIV-positive teens gather to socialize, play, and speak openly about the challenges of living with HIV. The club has become so popular that the hospital’s antiretroviral therapy (ART) clinic that hosts the clubs decided to add an additional clinic day specifically for adolescents.
Journalists also met with several women living with HIV who have received prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services and delivered HIV-negative babies. They saw firsthand the benefits of putting HIV-positive pregnant women on lifelong ART regardless of their immunity levels and how access to prenatal care can prevent moms from passing HIV to their babies.
When it comes to ending AIDS in children, the media can help inform the public that it is possible for an HIV-positive woman to have an HIV-negative baby.
By sharing these and other important messages through newspapers and radio, we hope that demand for HIV services will increase, ultimately resulting in fewer children born with HIV and more lives saved.
Reporters from national newspapers, Voice of America, the Key Correspondents Association, and a popular local radio station, attended the field visit. Be sure to check out some of the stories they published following the visit below:
Journalist Owen Nyaka takes an in-depth look at EGPAF’s Riders For Health program, a motorcycle courier network that transports HIV test samples so that patients receive their results more quickly. EGPAF’s partnership with Riders for Health is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEFPAR) through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This article was picked up by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s blog, Impatient Optimists.
Malawi journalist Rebecca Chimjeka reports on the impact of EGPAF’s prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV services in Malawi.
Elizabeth Hamilton is EGPAF's Malawi country officer, based in Washington, D.C.