National Aids Control Council declares HIV/Aids disaster in lakeside county
By JAMES OMORO
Homa Bay County:
The National Aids Control Council has declared HIV infection a disaster in Homa Bay County.
According to figures of a research by NACC in collaboration with the National Aids and STIs Control Programme, HIV/Aids prevalence rate in the county stands at 27.1 per cent.
By the end of 2011 Homa Bay had 150,000 people living with HIV, where 85 per cent were adults.
The research indicates that women are leading in HIV infection compared to their male counterparts. It shows that 10,000 of the 40,000 women who become pregnant every year in the county are HIV positive.
The county had 8,268 new HIV infections among adults in 2011.
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Declaring the disease a disaster in the county, NACC Director Alloys Orago also said the national HIV/Aids prevalence stands at 6.2 per cent, and at the end of 2011, 1.6 million Kenyans were living with HIV.
Prof Orago attributed the high prevalence rate in Homa Bay to social cultural practices, which he advised the county residents to be wary of.
He called on the residents to change their behaviour as one of the modalities of combating the scourge.
“Time has come when we have to chart the way forward to combat the infection. I call upon leaders to join hands in sensitising residents on behavioural change in this area,” he said.
Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti, who officially opened a sensitisation drive assured residents he would set aside a special kitty in his budget to help fight the pandemic.
Awiti said the county cannot realise the UN Millennium Development Goals if the rate of HIV and Aids remained that high.
“It is very unfortunate we are leading in a negative side as far as HIV infections are concerned. We have to come out as leaders to ensure the scourge is reduced because no county can be productive if its populace is ailing,” Awiti added.
Awiti’s deputy Hamilton Orata warned the situation would scare investors if proper measures were not taken in good time.
“Every investor coming to this county asks for resources and labour. It is unfortunate the majority of the people dying are young people who can provide labour for various economic activities,” Orata observed.
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National Aids Control Council HIV Homa Bay County STIs Alloys Orago