By Allan Olingo
When someone was diagnosed with HIV, it was like a death sentence had just been announced.
Now success after success is being recorded in the fight against the disease.
In that period, the transmission has been reduced from 27 per cent in 2002 to 13 per cent. And this is good news as Kenya gears towards its 2015 target of zero infection.
Organisations working in the HIV and Aids area want this figure – 13 per cent – to reduce further.
One such organisation, Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Aids Foundation, commissioned a research to find out loopholes that are standing on the way to achieving this reduction.
The research findings, released yesterday in Nairobi, show that a high number of mothers abscond postnatal follow-up on HIV treatments for their newborns, compromising their children’s survival.
Journey to combat
Since HIV was discovered among homosexuals 30 years ago, there has been a journey to combat the disease. As medicines were discovered to prolong life and enable the infected lead normal lives, focus turned to prevention of infection of infants.
Statistics show that every child born of a HIV-positive mother has a 40 per cent risk of contracting HIV if no action is taken, however, that risk was reduced to 16 per cent as at last year, thanks to efforts to prevent mother to child transmission.
The research, Integration of HIV into MCH-A Platform to Elimination, found that with dispensaries and health centres’ adoption of the one-stop shop model of HIV service provision, HIV infection among unborn babies can be stopped.