Hiv and Aids in Malawi

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HIV and AIDS in Malawi

Interdisciplinary Perspective on HIV

March 22, 2012

Out of a population of 15.4 million, almost one million people in Malawi are living with HIV. AIDS is the leading cause of death amongst adults in Malawi, and is a major factor in the country’s low life expectancy of just 54.2 years. The Malawian government has mounted an impressive, comprehensive response to the AIDS epidemic in recent years. The government and international donors have both made commendable efforts to increase access to treatment and to improve prevention initiatives. Unfortunately, factors such as the scale of the epidemic and the shortage of human and financial resources available have hindered progress.

Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Malawi is over 45,560 square miles with an estimated population of more than 14 million. Its capital is Lilongwe, which is also Malawi's largest city; the second largest is Blantyre and the third is Mzuzu. The name Malawi comes from the Maravi, an old name of the Nyanja people that inhabit the area. The country is also nicknamed, "The Warm Heart of Africa".

Malawi has a diverse array of cultures, each of them as friendly as the next regardless of language or tribal values. Each tribe or culture offers a different story and image to the foreign eye, from historic sites to unforgettable natural sites. Malawi's population is made up of the Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni and Ngonde native ethnic groups, as well as populations of Asians and Europeans. Major languages include Chichewa, an official language spoken by over 57% of the population. Other native languages are Malawian Lomwe, spoken by around 250,000 in the southeast of the country; Kokola, spoken by around...