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Religious leaders key in fight against HIV/Aids

By Boniface Ongeri

Religious leaders in North Eastern have been urged to address rampant divorce cases to check emerging HIV and Aids infection in the region.

The region’s coordinator of HIV/Aids control in the Ministry of Health Ahmed Sheikh Noor said the leaders should not be quick to grant divorces when they are sought.

“They should instead strive to reconcile the couples seeking divorce to check the rising cases of infection caused by separations. We have an instance where an infected person had divorced seven times, posing a dangerous infection cycle,” he said.

Speaking during the World Aids Day at Garissa Primary School, Noor also said the church should also discourage expensive weddings. This would encourage young people to marry.

“Marrying in this region is becoming an expensive affair. Anyone withless than Sh300,000 cannot marry. Young men who cannot afford the wedding expenses are resorting to forbidden and unprotected sex that has contributed to the rising cases of HIV/Aids,” he said.

Prostitution

Noor also revealed that some women miraa traders in the region were also engaging in prostitution to supplement their livelihoods, making them vulnerable.

He said currently, there are more than 3,000 people living with HIV in Garissa of who 1,200 had been placed on anti-retroviral drugs.

Security threats

Field Officer National Aids Control Council North Eastern region, Omar Mwanjama, lamented that the region had been left out of the ongoing Kenya Aids Indicator survey being carried out nationally because of security issues.

“The survey will be carried out in the region after the Al Shabaab threats improve,” Mwanjama said.