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Data shows annual infections among adults and children on the decline as HIV prevalence still high

By Kepher Otieno | Published Mon, December 4th 2017 at 00:00, Updated December 3rd 2017 at 23:50 GMT +3
Residents of Kisumu in a procession to mark the World AIDS Day on December 1, 2017. [Photo: Collins Oduor| Standard]

The county has made significant gains in the fight against HIV/Aids, but the prevalence rate still remains high, health officials have revealed.

According to official statistics from the ministry in the county, the prevalence rate has increased from the initial 15 per cent in 2013 to 19.1.

Infection rate

"This means we must still put in more effort to fight the disease among the vulnerable productive workforce," said Kisumu County Director of Health Dickson Onyango on Friday.

According to County National AIDS Control Council (NACC) coordinator Edwin Lwanya, the number of people living with the virus in the county has increased from 134,826 in 2013 to 144,303.

But the date from NACC also showed the annual HIV infections rate among adults was on the decline, with reports showing significant decrease, from 10,345 recorded in 2013 to 8,790.

Similarly, the annual new HIV infections among children had reduced from 2,296 to 909, a trend NACC says could dip further.

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Currently, 89,000 people are put on standard anti-retro viral therapy (ART) which had drastically reduced the number of HIV/Aids-related deaths.

Data shows HIV-related deaths among adults have also declined from 2,861 recorded in 2013 to 2,518 and among children from 1,040 to 501 over the same period.

But more worrying is the number of adolescents between the age of 15 and 24 who make up just over one-and-a-half of the sexually active population and who are at   high risk due to higher exposure to sexual activity.

Kisumu Health Executive Rose Obara said for the spread of the virus to be tamed, focus must now shift to prevention, cure and treatment as opposed to just raising awareness.

Some donors are concerned that despite millions of shillings being spent on HIV/Aids awareness campaigns, prevention and treatment, the rate of infection is still very high.

Dr Obara disclosed they had also made efforts to ensure default rates among those put on ARVs reduce significantly.

"So far, ARV uptake has reduced from the initial 10 to five per cent," he said.

The prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) rate, also known as vertical transmission rate, has also reduced from 20 to less than 10 per cent in the past one year.

Among women

But HIV prevalence among women in the county is higher at 21.2 per cent than that of men at 18.3 per cent.

The data was released ahead of the World AIDS Day that was commemorated last Friday.

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