Data just released from the National Syndemic Disease Control Council (NSDCC) that annual new infections of HIV-Aids in Kenya have fallen by 78 percent over the last decade, from 101,448 in 2013 to 22,154 in 2022.
The encouraging figures, if maintained, could see HIV-Aids ceasing to be a public health threat by 2027 but to do so will require new infection rates to continue to be cut.
The Sustainable Development Goals are targeted on ending HIV-Aids as a public health threat by 2030.
New infections down across counties
The NSDCC figures reveal that 13 counties have halved new HIV infections in the last year with Mombasa County cutting new infections by over 50 per cent from 2021 to 2022, as did Taita Taveta, Lamu and Kalifi.
In nine other counties new infections were down 44 to 49 percent, the counties being Tana River, Kwale, Nairobi, Homa Bay, Migori, Siaya, Kisumu and Nyamira.
The encouraging results from the 13 counties resulted from a mix of interventions and treatments that included viral suppression in HIV-positive people taking anti-retroviral (ARV’s) drugs.
Other than Mandera, all counties saw a reduction in new HIV infections in the 2022-2923 period.
Dr Ruth Laibon-Masha
Quoted in The Star newspaper, Dr Ruth Laibon-Masha, Chief Executive Officer of the NSDCC, said, “Kenya has also a substantial decline in new HIV cases, further complemented by the expansion of access to ART medicine. Approximately 1.2 million individuals have been accessing treatment since 2013”.
HIV youth infections still a concern
Speaking at a media workshop however, NSDCC programme officer Douglas Bosire noted that HIV infection rates of those aged 15 to 24 years old remain worryingly high. The NSDCC report show that there were 3,244 new HIV infections among adolescents aged 10 to 19 years old in 2022.
Kenya Forum readers may also be interested in World AIDs Day: How Prevalent is HIV/AIDS in Kenya (1/12/2023)