New HIV infections may reverse gains Kenya has made, First Lady warns

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta yesterday launched the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, Aids-Free, Mentored Safe women project to curb the spread of HIV.

The project falls under the US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief. Kenya will receive Sh3 billion from the project to prevent and treat HIV and Aids related ailments among adolescent girls.

Mrs Kenyatta said new HIV infections among the youth may reverse the gains made in the fight against the virus. She said it was unacceptable that 21 per cent of new HIV infections occur among young women aged between 15 and 24 annually.

The First Lady, who called for concerted efforts in the fight against HIV and Aids, spoke yesterday during the World Aids Day celebrations at City Stadium, Nairobi.

"Unless we control new HIV infections among this group, our aspirations of becoming a vibrant middle income economy in the next few years is in jeopardy," she said.

She emphasised the need to pool resources to ensure the country achieves zero new HIV infections and zero HIV and Aids related deaths while at the same time eliminating stigma and discrimination associated with the scourge.

"This is a journey that I am personally committed to and will continue to play my part in ensuring that all the efforts aimed at getting to zero are sustained and positive results achieved," she assured.

She added: "And the starting point is for each one of us to get tested. This way, every individual will be able to make an informed choice to protect himself or herself and their loved ones."

US Ambassador Robert Godec said despite considerable progress in the overall global HIV and Aids response, 380,000 adolescent girls and young women get infected every year in Sub-Saharan Africa translating to around 1,000 girls every day.