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19,000 children in Homa Bay infected with HIV, study shows

By James Omoro | Published Tue, February 2nd 2016 at 00:00, Updated February 2nd 2016 at 11:54 GMT +3

More than 19,000 children in Homa Bay County are infected with HIV, a new study has shown.

According to the study conducted by Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), only 8,000 children have been identified and introduced to ARVs. Some 150,000 adults have also been diagnosed with the virus.

Speaking during an opening ceremony for verification of the county's AIDS Strategic Plan at Homa Bay High School Monday, EGPAF National Director Eliud Mwangi said only 80,000 adults are on ARV treatment.

"The rate at which HIV is spreading in this county is worrying and the high infection rate among children is a big threat for the county's future generation," said Mwangi.

The county has been ranked at the first position with a prevalence rate of 25.7 per cent.

Governor Cyprian Awiti and his deputy Hamilton Orata said the strategic plan would help the county reduce the rate of spread of the virus.

Awiti said the document contains strategies for identifying causes of HIV in the society to help eliminate the virus.

"HIV in Homa Bay has become the talk of the day and I have declared it a disaster affecting us. We are making concerted efforts with development partners to help us fight the scourge," said Awiti.

The governor said there was need for a special fund in the county for fighting HIV. He said the Sh4 million available for the health docket in the current financial year is inadequate for the fight against the scourge.

"We are going to present a special budget to the county assembly for fighting the scourge, hence I am appealing to our MCAs to be cooperative so that we can reduce the spread of the virus," said Awiti.

Orata called on locals and development partners to co-operate in efforts to help boost the economic productivity in the county.

"We cannot achieve the desired development if HIV continues to afflict our people. Fighting HIV will lead to automatic development in other sectors of the economy," said Orata.