Aids Council sounds alarm on high infection rates among youth

Leaders from various religions during Pre-Maisha conference at Merica Hotel on April 9,2019,Nacc sounded an alarm over the increasing of HIV infections among the Youths: [Photo: Harun Wathari/Standard]

National Aids Control Council (NACC) has sounded the alarm over increasing HIV infections among youth aged between 18 and 24.

The virus, according to NACC, is spreading like bush fire despite the nationwide reduction in HIV prevalence.

Rosemary Mbogo, a member of the NACC board and the Secretary of the Anglican Church, said despite a lot of progress being made, the challenge today lay among the youth.

“We have made progress as a country in reducing the prevalence rates from 14 per cent in the 1990s to the current 4.6 per cent,” said Reverend Mbogo.

“The problem, however, lies in the alarming rates of new infections among young people.”

Mbogo said although HIV prevalence rates were on the decrease at a national level, the ratio was not uniform across counties, a situation that, she said, called for more attention and emphasis on treatment and awareness.

According to NACC, prevalence rates declined from 5.9 per cent in 2015 to 4.6 per cent last year. At least 30 counties have prevalence rates of between 2 per cent and 4.9 per cent. Only 10 counties have prevalence rates of less than 2 per cent.

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Some of the counties with the highest prevalence rates are Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Nakuru and Nairobi. These counties also record more than 1,000 deaths a year as a result of HIV.

Mbogo noted that there was need for treatment of HIV to be embedded in the universal healthcare programme. 

Anti-retroviral coverage in some counties, including Narok, Taita Taveta, Kwale, Kajiado, Turkana, Marsabit Samburu, Lamu and Trans Nzoia is still low, with only 50 per cent of those living with HIV accessing the drugs.

“Most of the funding in the fight against HIV mainly comes from donors and there is need for the Government to embed it in the universal health coverage programme,” Mbogo said.

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NACCNational Aids Control CouncilHIV infectionsHoma BayNairobiYouth