Two teenagers aged 18-24 years in Nyeri County die of HIV/AIDS daily, an official with the National Aids Control Council (NACC) has revealed.
NACC Mt Kenya Regional Coordinator Julius Koome said three more teenagers get infected with the disease daily.
Koome said HIV infection rates in the county are on the increase and there was a need for quick action from both county and national governments to check on this trend.
“Infections, especially in this county, have reached an alarming rate. In fact, HIV/Aids figures for 2020 indicate 42 per cent of new cases came from the generation aged between 18 to 24 years,” he said.
Nyeri County leads in HIV-Aids prevalence in the Central region at 4.3 per cent, according to NACC.
Speaking during the flagging of this year’s Nyeri County edition talent search, Koome attributed the high infections rates to idleness and lack of meaningful occupation among the youth.
“Vulnerability in this group is mostly due to idleness. Keeping children in school reduces infections by 30 per cent,” he said.
Koome said a meaningful and gainful engagement of a young person can only be possible as a result of nurturing talent and this will go a long way in bringing down the mortality and infection rates.
“We are encouraging all stakeholders to keep our youth engaged to prevent them from sliding into immoral behaviours. We need to tap their talent for their own benefit,” he said.
Crispus Wanjohi from Grassroots Community Transformation Centre (GTC) said identifying new talents will keep this population preoccupied, hence reducing HIV/Aids infections.
“One of our main areas is to identify and nurture talents to prevent the youth from self-destruction through drug abuse and immoral behaviour,” Wanjohi said.
He said suicide cases were on the rise and there was a need for collective action to bring this trend to an end.
Wanjohi said 70 contestants for Mr and Miss Nyeri, who had been receiving training at Othaya Teacher Training College, will square it out on New Year's Eve.
Nyeri County Commissioner Lyford Kibaara who opened the event said the county HIV prevalence rate had reached 6.3 per cent, up from 3.0 per cent two years ago.
He expressed concern over the high cases of young people, especially girls, contracting the virus.
“This calls for us to wake up as a nation because we will not have a generation tomorrow if people in this age bracket are the ones getting HIV-Aids,” Kibaara said.
He said there was a feeling that girls were being infected in large numbers because there is no one to mentor them.
“Parents have abandoned their responsibilities and left it to teachers and house helps, the administrator observed.