The government is pledging to enhance interventions aimed at reducing the HIV AIDS epidemic through focused interventions.
Speaking during the launch of the Kenya HIV estimates report 2018, health cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki said while the estimates show a gradual decline in HIV prevalence, much remains to be done to halt and reverse HIV.
The assurance comes amid revelations that young women aged between 15 and 24 years have the highest risk of contracting HIV with the group constituting the bulk of new infections.
It is a health challenge that has proved the biggest yet in the country’s recent history with the government dedicating huge resources to mitigate its impact.
And while the efforts indicate progress in advancing towards National targets as reflected in the 2018 HIV estimates report, the latest demographic statistics present an interesting study.
While the report released indicates that the national HIV prevalence has dropped from 5.6 percent to 4.9 percent over the last five years with about 1.5 million people living with HIV, young women aged between the ages of 15 and 24 years remains the biggest demographic in new infections. According to the report, the group accounted for nearly a third of new infections.
The report points out that that more men, 13,800 died from HIV related complications last year as compared to women whose number was 10,100.
National Aids control council chairperson Angeline Siparo saying lack of testing is posing a major challenge in intervention programmes.
According to the report, new HIV infections among all ages declined from 77,200 in 2010 to 52,800 in 2017, indicating a 32% decline in the number of new annual HIV infections.
Annual new HIV infections among adult aged 15 and above also declined from 63,700 in 2010 to 44,800 in 2017, a 30% decline.
Kariuki says the government will intensify efforts aimed at containing HIV despite the positive outlook.
While gains made over the years presents cause for optimism in the war against the epidemic, concern remains with statistics indicating that a third of the Counties contribute 75% of the total national new HIV infections.
Counties with the highest adult HIV prevalence include Siaya with 21.0%; Homa Bay 20.7%; Kisumu 16.3%; Migori 13.3%; Busia 7.7% and Nairobi with prevalence rate of 6.1%.