Mother arrested for disclosing son’s HIV status in Lilongwe

By Wilfred Golden

Maegaret Maganga, a mother from Area 24 in Lilongwe, is in police custody for unlawfully disclosing her 20-year-old son’s HIV status, a violation of the HIV Management and Prevention Act.

The HIV Management and Prevention Act stipulates that disclosing someone’s HIV status without their consent is an offense punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of 5 million Malawi Kwacha.

According to reports, on April 18, 2024, Area 30 Police officers visited Area 24 Police unit and opened a case against Maganga for allegedly disclosing her son’s HIV status, leading to stigma and discrimination against him.

The son, who was in police custody for four days on unrelated charges, was subjected to mockery and ridicule by his friends and community members, causing him emotional distress.

After his release, the son refused to return to the community and began visiting his mother’s home in the evenings.

His mother sought help from Baylor and the National Aids Commission (NAC), who became involved in the case.

Despite initial delays by public officers, NAC officials Francis Mabedi and Chasukwa pursued the matter, leading to Maganga’s arrest.

Maganga pleaded not guilty and was granted bail on the same day due to her infant child.

The magistrate ruled that she must find a lawyer, and the prosecutor, Sub Inspector Patrick Mphambana, must present all relevant witnesses.

However,the case has been adjourned until May 27, 2024.