World Aids Day: A snapshot of HIV in Kenya(Daily Nation -Kenya)

Our understanding of disease and health has been transformed in the 31 years that HIV has been with us in Kenya.

Many of us who were alive when the media first brought the story of HIV into our homes still think of Aids as a terrible disease, but younger adults increasingly view it as a medical condition for which you take a pill.

Despite major progress, HIV and AIDS remains one of Kenya’s most significant public health challenges. The possibility of an HIV-free Kenya by 2030 could be stalled by the fact that not all HIV-positive people access care and treatment services.

Even as the prevalence of the virus continues to decline among the general adult population, hyper-epidemics persist in parts of the country and among certain groups such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs.

Teenage girls and young women are contributing an increasingly large share of new infections.

Tomorrow, the world marks World AIDS Day, which was commemorated for the first time in 1988, to unite people in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and to remember people who have died.

Below are 20 facts about HIV with data from National Aids Control Council (NACC), National Aids and STI Control Programme (NASCOP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Just who is affected?

An estimated 1.6 million people, or roughly four per cent of the population, are living with HIV in Kenya.

Every year an average of 89,000 adults and about 11,000 children in Kenya are infected with HIV.

About 11,000 Aids-related deaths, a quarter of total deaths occur among children.

Are Kenyans being tested and treated?

From the Kenya Aids Indicator Survey 2012, more than half of Kenyans living with HIV did not know their HIV status; 16 per cent had never tested (or received test results if tested) and 37 per cent believed they were negative based on self-reporting.

Over 680,000 persons living with HIV, including 60,000 children aged 0-14 received antiretroviral treatment.

More than 70 per cent of HIV-positive pregnant women received antiretroviral prophylaxis to prevent transmission to their new born children.

Who is most at risk from HIV?

At more than 10 per cent, HIV prevalence is highest among women and men aged 25 to 44.

AIDS is the leading cause of death and illness among adolescents and young people in Kenya: 9,720 adolescents and young people died of AIDS in Kenya in 2014.

About 16 per cent of people living with HIV are teenagers and youth.

Nearly one in three persons newly infected with HIV is a teenager or youth, aged between 15-24 years.

Young women are particularly at risk with those aged 15 – 24 years contributing to 21 per cent of all new infections in Kenya.

How are people being infected?

Condom use among people with multiple sexual partners is less than 40 per cent.

One in six men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs are HIV positive.

About 30 per cent of the more than 130000 sex workers in Kenya are living with HIV. This is equivalent to more than 38,000 people.

Due to a fast-track programme targeting sex workers, incidence of sexually transmitted infections dropped from 27 per cent among those screened in 2013 to just three per cent in 2015.

Where in Kenya is HIV most prevalent?

About 65 per cent of new HIV infections in Kenya occurred in nine counties: Bomet, Homo Bay, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nakuru, Nyamira, Siaya and Turkana.

Homa Bay has an HIV prevalence of about 26 per cent, it is followed by the counties of Siaya with 24 per cent. In other words, in the two worst hit counties, one in four residents is living with HIV.

The county of Wajir has an HIV prevalence of 0.20, the lowest in the country, followed by Tana River with 1.00 per cent.

What global efforts are in place to control HIV?

In 2015, Cuba was the first country declared to have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

The world has committed to end the spread of Aids by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals

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