14 coun­ties record rise in HIV cases — re­port

Dis­turb­ing trend as re­gions that pre­vi­ously had low rates reg­is­ter ris­ing in­fec­tions. Rates among ado­les­cents also up

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Ministries - RHODA OD­HI­AMBO @Od­hi­amboRhoda

De­spite Kenya mak­ing tremen­dous progress in the war on HIV-Aids, the new in­fec­tion rates show a dis­turb­ing trend.

A sur­vey ti­tled ‘The Kenya Aids Re­sponse Progress Re­port 2016’ shows 14 coun­ties that pre­vi­ously recorded low HIV rates are back­slid­ing at an alarm­ing rate.

The coun­ties that have recorded an in­crease in new HIV in­fec­tions by 50 per cent since 2013 in­clude Bun­goma at 1,145, Bu­sia at 1,467, Kakamega 1,935, Kil­ifi 1,413, Ki­tui 1,547, Kwale 1,068, Lamu 104, Marsabit 152, Mom­basa 2,426, Nairobi 4,719, Taita Taveta 527, Tana River 125, Vi­higa 737 and Wa­jir 28.

“The coun­ties that pre­vi­ously had low HIV in­fec­tions are record­ing high num­bers. The num­ber of in­fec­tions among ado­les­cents is also go­ing up.” Nas­cop head Martin Sirengo said.

How­ever, the re­port shows 16 coun­ties recorded a de­cline in new in­fec­tion rates by 50 per cent. Over­all, 77,647 new in­fec­tions were recorded in 2015, mark­ing a 19 per cent dip na­tion­ally, com­pared to 110,000 new in­fec­tions in 2013.

“The es­ti­mates show that 6,613 chil­dren were born HIV-pos­i­tive in 2015, de­spite the mother-to-child HIV trans­mis­sion pro­gramme rolled out to en­sure HIV-pos­i­tive moth­ers give birth to HIV-neg­a­tive ba­bies,” ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Aids Con­trol Coun­cil Nduku Kilonzo said.

“We’re not do­ing so well when it comes to ado­les­cents and young peo­ple. It shows 35,000 new in­fec­tions were among ado­les­cents and young peo­ple. That trans­lates into 97 new in­fec­tions daily.”

The 2015 es­ti­mates also show a de­cline in the num­ber of peo­ple who died of Aids-re­lated ill­nesses. Last year, 35,421 peo­ple died of Aids com­pli­ca­tions, 4,987 be­ing ado­les­cents. Kilonzo said more than 850,000 peo­ple are on treat­ment.

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