13th February 2018: Activists and civil society organisations from Malawi and across southern Africa have welcomed the passage of the new HIV/AIDS (Prevention and Management) Act, which came into force on 1st February. SRT grantee the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) provided legal and advocacy support to the campaign in support of the bill.
The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Management) Act has been a standing item on the Malawian parliament’s agenda for almost 10 years. Previous versions of the bill contained provisions that were inconsistent with international good practice and violated fundamental human rights, including making HIV testing and treatment mandatory for select populations on a discriminatory basis, and provisions criminalising HIV exposure and transmission. Following advocacy from civil society organisations in Malawi and the wider region, including SALC, the new Act is free of these provisions.
Edna Tembo, Executive Director of the Coalition of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi (COWLHA), said, ‘We are greatly indebted to the parliamentarians for passing the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Management Act that will ensure that all Malawians, especially women and girls living with HIV, have equal access to quality HIV and AIDS services that are provided in an environment free of stigma and discrimination and in which human rights are protected’.
SALC’s director Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh said, ‘The democratic leadership shown by Members of Parliament, and the HIV Committee in particular, during various stages of Act’s development sets an excellent example for law-makers in the region, particularly in their conscientious consideration of the concerns of affected populations, activists, and civil society’.
Full story from SALC website: http://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/2018/02/13/news-release-our-bodies-our-rights-activists-welcome-the-passing-of-the-malawi-hiv-and-aids-prevention-and-management-act
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