Kenya is among 18 countries globally whose HIV/Aids prevalence rate stands at below three per cent, a new report says.
The report by the United Nations Programme on HIV/ Aids (Unaids) asserts that at below three per cent, the country is doing fine. This is the benchmark HIV/ Aids prevalence rate that the agency has set to ensure that countries are moving towards eliminating the pandemic.
The report further reveals that HIV/Aids-related deaths in the country have reduced by 34 per cent since 2015. Apart from Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda are the only other countries in East Africa that have hit the prevalence benchmark. “Eighteen countries achieved the three per cent benchmark, suggesting that HIV responses in these countries are on the path to ending the Aids epidemic,” reads the report in part.
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These countries that are doing well include Botswana, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Italy and Spain. Unaids noted that the global incidence-prevalence ratio has declined from 11.2 per cent in 2000 to 6.6 per cent in 2010 and to 4.6 per cent in 2018, reinforcing the conclusion that important progress has been made against the epidemic.
“Despite this, the world is not yet on track to end Aids as a public health threat by 2030,” reads the report.
Unaids said that the downside is that there are 70 countries that remain at five per cent or above. This number includes countries with 10 per cent prevalence rate, a level that Unaids noted is associated with increasing new HIV infections.
These are also countries that have a lot of people living with HIV being denied anti-retroviral therapy. According to the report, the number of new infections in Kenya has reduced from 51,000 in 2015 to 46,000 in 2018. The number of HIV/Aids related deaths have also gone down from 38,000 in 2015 t0 25,000 in 2018. The reduction in the number of deaths is across all genders: male deaths reduced from 16,000 in 2015 to 11,000 in 2018.
Preventive measures There were also 3,900 less deaths reported in the female population in 2018. The report states that there are currently 1.6 million people living with HIV in Kenya, 100,000 more compared to 2015.
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The report also states that Kenya is among the countries that have adopted prevention measures with 30,000 put on Pre-exposure Prophylaxis known as PrEP. This is medication taken by the risk category population like sex workers. It prevents them from contracting the virus. Globally, PrEP was only being used by an estimated 300 000 people in 2018, 130 000 who were in the United States of America.