HIV in Malawi

The HIV/AIDS problem in Malawi first started just like everywhere else: one person comes forth with it. How the government handled the problem, though, is how it got out of control. The government did blood screenings and such, but overall did not seem to put much effort into the situation. The discussion of sexual matters was censored so there was not a lot of talk about how the spread of HIV could be prevented. The public, therefore, did not have much information about the disease. Most of the spreading was due to heterosexual sex and the passing down of it from mothers to children. Since many people either had the disease or were taking care of someone that did, time had to be taken out of their jobs. Since farmers could not provide food, a famine arose. Currently, HIV/AIDS is still a problem, but the National AIDS Commission (NAC) is doing more to help the people of Malawi. It is trying to be prevented by condom distribution, voluntary counseling and testing, and attempts to prevent the spread of HIV from mother to child. This is done by screening, and according to the short clip about HIV in this week’s materials, these mothers that test positive are not supposed to breastfeed (Avert).

One anthropologist that works in this area is Dr. Anat Rosenthal. She is a medical anthropologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her current research focuses on “the impact of AIDS on kinship systems and social institutions, and on healthcare delivery in resource-limited settings” (MHERC). An example of one of her publications is coping with the AIDS epidemic in rural Malawi: Weaving networks of responsibility. This article talks about how an NGO in Malawi tries to help with the HIV/AIDS problem by providing care for orphaned and vulnerable children.


Avert. “HIV & AIDS in Malawi”. Accessed August 9, 2013.

MHERC. “Anat Rosenthal.” Accessed August 9, 2013.

Pubmed. “Weaving networks of responsibility: community work in development programs in rural Malawi.” Accessed August 9, 2013.

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