VICTORY OVER AIDS: Why Kenya Won’t Have New Infections Any More

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Today being the 1st of December, the world marks the 30th anniversary of the World Aids Day. Kenya, being one of the most affected countries across the globe, has taken good strides especially on treatment to fight the epidemic.

According to the latest statistics released by UNAIDS Data 2018, 1.5 million people live with HIV/Aids, making Kenya the joint fourth largest epidemic in the world, alongside Mozambique and Uganda.

In recent decades, Kenya has been a huge prevention success story in the region. It was one of the first to approve the use of PrEP and has led the way in providing VMMC. As a result new infections have fallen dramatically in recent years, says the report.

In 2016, 64% of people living with HIV in Kenya were accessing treatment. However treatment coverage among adolescents is much lower at 24%.

2017 UNAIDS statistics for Kenya

Although awareness of HIV and AIDS is high in Kenya, many people living with HIV face high levels of stigma and discrimination which prevent people accessing HIV services, the report adds.

However, the country, through government agencies and non-governmental organizations have intensified the campaign to mobilize citizens to g for HIV testing.

This is after another research by Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in 2017 declared that people living with HIV/Aids cannot transmit the virus. This, the report explained, is attributed to that fact that being on HIV treatment suppresses the virus and therefore chances of transmitting are nearly impossible.

This could be the reason the country is spending sleepless nights to motivate citizens to volunteer for testing.

Lately, Kenyans who fear visiting testing centres due to the fear of being stigmatized in case they test positive have been purchasing self-testing kitties from retail shops from as low as Ksh500 to test at the comfort of their own homes privately.

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One of the volunteers who privately talked to this writer said the idea of putting HIV patients on treatment is a step in the right direction and has saved so many lives.

“Initially, I was falling ill every now and then. I became weak and hopeless after shockingly testing positive for HIV.” Said Esther* (not her real name) the 43-year-old mother of three.

“But after soul-searching, that was three months after the test eleven years ago, I decided to try the treatment for the sake of my children. Since then,  life has never been the same and am able to run my three saloon businesses happily.”

A graphic image of symptoms of HIV/Aids./Courtesy

The HIV/Aids campaigners and researchers have now projected that if everyone testing positive for the treatment is immediately put on treatment and faithfully use protectives during sex, the long-term effect will be that there won’t be new infections in 30 years to come and that will have definitely put the virus on dead bed.

 

 

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Simiyu Wakajuaness

Blogger Simiyu Wakajuaness is a scriptwriter, actor and stage director with ardent passion in the media and public relations in this digital world. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook on the icons below...

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