Kenya marks World AIDS Day amid reduction in new HIV infections

NAIROBI, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) — Kenya joined the rest of the world on Friday in commemorating the World Aids Day amid declining rate of new HIV infections among young people in the country.

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu said an estimated 100 youth get infected by HIV daily in Kenya due to high risk sexual behavior that continue to pre-dispose them to ill health..

Mailu said that the new infections takes place in youths aged 15-24 despite the country making significant progress in the fight against the disease.

“We have reduced HIV incidence by 45 percent from 110,000 new infections to 72,000,” Mailu said during the celebrations held in Nairobi

He said that the government has intensified efforts toward keeping the youth population free from HIV by ensuring access to medication for those who are HIV positive and that no one suffers stigma and discrimination.

Mailu said that two thirds of the 100 new youth infections are among girls and young women, where young male adults account for 16 percent while young female adults account for 33 percent.

He noted that Kenya has made strides by reducing HIV prevalence from 13 percent in the past ten years to 6 percent currently and also reduced new infections among children from their mothers by 53 percent since 2014.

“With the scale up of antiretroviral to over 1.1 million Kenyans living with HIV, we have stopped close to half a million deaths,” he added.

Mailu said that the government through the National Aids Control Council (NACC) has reached over 15 million people in 2016 through tests, care and treatment.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, HIV education has for the first time been included in Kenya’s education system.

In the Ministry’s Medium Term Plan III, has entrenched HIV Aids multi-sectoral and all inclusive response against the scourge.

According to Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework (KASF) 2018/19 Kenya intends to reduce new HIV infections by 75 percent, reduce AIDS related mortality by 25 percent, reduce HIV related stigma and discrimination by 50 percent and increase domestic financing of the HIV response to 50 percent.

This year’s theme is “Step up for HIV Prevention: Youth Na Plan” with emphasis on access to HIV Prevention services as part of right to health among adolescents and young people.

The theme is aimed at raising awareness on prevention of HIV and mobilize young people to take action through condom promotion, Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC), pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), harm reduction, HIV treatment, HIV testing and behavior change. Enditem

-xinhuanet.com

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