HIV Infections Rise among Kenyan Youth

A new report by the World Health Organization shows that Kenya has among the highest number of new HIV/Aids infections in East Africa and is ranked among top countries in sub-Sahara African, behind South Africa and Nigeria.

According to the report, in Kenya, 21 per cent of new HIV infections occur among women aged between 15 and 24 while in Uganda, 70 per cent of the new infections recorded are youth, mostly girls, between the age of 18 and 24 years.

Mrs Kenyatta speaking during the World Aids Day celebrations said new HIV infections among the youth may reverse the gains made in the fight against the virus. She said it was unacceptable that 21 per cent of new HIV infections occur among young women aged between 15 and 24 annually

Emma Mwamburi of the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) blames the rise in infections on non-compliance ARV medication regime by HIV patients.

“Most adolescents who die of Aids-related illnesses acquired HIV when they were infants, when fewer pregnant women and mothers living with HIV received antiretroviral medicines to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child,” the report says.

The Unicef study also found that 26 adolescents are infected every hour, and only one in 10 adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa is tested for HIV. About half of the two million living with HIV in this group are found in just six countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Mozambique and Tanzania.

The report also says that girls in the region are disproportionately affected, accounting for seven of 10 new infections among 15 to 19 year-old, the study found.

According to the data in Unicef’s Statistical Update on Children, Adolescents and Aids, less than half of children under two months old are tested for HIV and only one in three of the 2.6 million children under the age of 15 living with HIV are on treatment.

Although various measures were put in place by Kenya, including the campaign to stop mother-to-child infection, it was only recently that the campaign to stop new infections among adolescents was launched.
In February, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed county commissioners to collect data on the number of youth and children living with HIV/Aids to increase access to ARVs.

Last month, Health Ministry launched a plan to reduce HIV/Aids among adolescents and young people.
The ministry aims to reduce new infections among the target group by 40 per cent, HIV/Aids-related deaths by 15 per cent and lower stigma and discrimination by 25 per cent by 2017.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has announced a $300 million program to drastically reduce HIV infections in girls and young woman in 10 sub-Saharan countries.

The 10 countries that will be targets of the new initiatives accounted for nearly half of all new HIV infections among girls and young women last year. The countries are Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

US Ambassador Robert Godec said despite considerable progress in the overall global HIV and Aids response, 380,000 adolescent girls and young women get infected every year in Sub-Saharan Africa translating to around 1,000 girls every day. He said that Kenya will receive Sh2.6 billion to fight the HIV pandemic.

The starting point is for each one of us to get tested. This way, every individual will be able to make an informed choice to protect himself or herself and their loved ones.



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Sharon Adisa
Sharon is a writer and editor who strives to continually further both the depth and breadth of her skills as a writer so as to contribute superior work and deliver client and customer satisfaction.

4 Comments on "HIV Infections Rise among Kenyan Youth"

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  3. Andrew Scot | May 9, 2016 at 8:36 am | Reply

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