HIV infection reduces by 51 per cent, says health CS

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki. [David Gichuru/Standard]

New HIV infections have gone down by 51 per cent in the last 10 years, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has revealed.

This translates to a drop from 100,000 cases per year to 49,000.

Ms Kariuki also said deaths related to HIV and Aids have dropped by about 65 per cent in the same period, with the figure falling from 60,000 yearly to 28,000 currently.

The CS disclosed this even as UNAids Executive Director Winifred Byanyima said 25 million people were living with the scourge in Africa.

The two were speaking at Kiandutu slums in Thika during the launch of the World Aids Day report 2019 at Garissa Road Primary School.

The CS noted despite donors' withdrawal, the government had raised her ministry's budget by 50 per cent and that currently, 1.2 million Kenyans were on anti-retroviral treatment.

Ms Byanyima said efforts must be made to safeguard the interests and rights of girls and women, particularly girls who suffer traditional biases in Africa.

"Health cannot be a privilege for the rich, it's a right for everyone. UNAids will work with the government to make health services available to all," she said.

Kiambu Deputy Governor James Nyoro said HIV cases in his county were highest in the country, with youths between ages 15 and 24 being the most affected.