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Women aged 15-24 at high risk of HIV infection

Health & Science

Young women aged between 15 and 24 years have the highest risk of contracting HIV, a new report shows.

The Kenya Aids Response Progress Report 2018 shows that out of 44,800 new HIV infections, 14,933 cases – or nearly one-third – were recorded in this age group.

The report by the National Aids Control Council, to be launched today, shows that there were 17,700 new HIV infections among both males and females aged 15-24 years.

This shows that for every one male aged 15-24 who contracts the virus, there are at least five infected females in the same age group.

This could explain why there are 864,600 women aged above 15 years living with HIV compared to 523,600 men, according to the report.

However, more men died from Aids-related complications last year at 13,800 compared to 10,100 women.

The report also notes that there were 2,830 Aids-related deaths in the 15-24 age group.

“About 54 per cent of these deaths occurred in nine of the 47 counties, namely, Nairobi (294) Homa Bay (246), Siaya (248), Kisumu (216), Migori (152), Kakamega (126), Nakuru (108), Busia (92) and Mombasa (79),” the report says.

Last year's 28,200 Aids-related deaths, according to the report, are a reduction of 48 per cent compared to 2010, when the number stood at 53,900.

“The decline is directly attributable to the wider access to anti-retroviral treatment (ART) made available with the roll-out of free ARTs in 2003 and the ability of the National Aids/STI Control Programme to cover treatment needs for HIV and Aids, co-infections and provide care services,” the report states.

The report also indicates that the 17,700 new infections for both male and female aged 15-24 are a 38 per cent reduction compared to 2010 when the number stood at 28,800.

“HIV infections among youths aged 15-24 years are concentrated in the high-prevalence counties of Nairobi (2,587), Homa Bay (1,852), Siaya (1,641), Kisumu (1,630), Migori (1,143), Kiambu (730), Kakamega (596) and Mombasa (562), which contributed to 61 per cent of new infections in 2017,” the report adds.

And of the 52,800 individuals who tested HIV-positive last year, 8,000 were children below the age of 14, 27,200 were females above 15 years and 17,600 were males.

The report indicates that the current national prevalence rate of the virus stands at 4.9 per cent according to last year's numbers, with prevalence higher among women (5.2 per cent) than men (4.5 per cent).

“These new estimates confirm a decline in HIV prevalence among both men and women at both national and county levels,” reads the report.

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