Malawi, one of Africa's poorest nations, has received 20 million dollars (15.4 million euros) from the Global Fund to boost its AIDS and HIV treatment programme, a senior official said on Wednesday.
The funds will be used to buy anti-retroviral drugs and HIV testing kits, said Washington Kaimvi, of Malawi's National AIDS Commission.
"As of June, we had 184,405 patients on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), but we hope to reach over 200,000 soon," Kaimvi said.
"We are doing well on free AIDS drugs. Its been a big scale-up, from 4,000 patients in 2003," Kaimvi added.
Malawi has an HIV infection rate of 12 percent. The epidemic has cut life expectancy to 36 years with some 85,000 people dying of AIDS-related illnesses each year.
Kaimvi said it was vital to boost the number of people being tested for HIV. Only 15 percent of 12 million Malawians have so far been tested, a far cry from the government's target of getting 1.5 million people tested every year.
The Geneva-based Global Fund, a partnership between governments, civil society and the private sector, was set up to secure funding to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.