199,100 people are living with HIV/Aids in Nairobi, making the county home to the highest Aids ‘burden’ in Kenya with a prevalence rate of 8.6 per cent of the population, a new study has revealed.
NAIROBI, HOMA BAY AND KISUMU TOP LIST
According to the report by the Commission for Revenue Allocations, which aimed to identify counties which are the most affected by HIV/Aids, Homa Bay and Kisumu follow Nairobi on the list with the former having 150,000 people living with HIV/Aids and the later 113,000, with a prevalence rate of 27.1 and 18.7 respectively.
Also in the top ten list of the counties hardest hit by HIV are Siaya (100,400), Mombasa (77,100), Kisii (77,100), Migori (68,700), Nakuru (57,800), Kakamega (55,500) and Turkana 51,200).
Lamu and Wajir counties recorded the lowest number of HIV infections with a record of only 800 people living with HIV and only 10 new infections in 2011. The HIV prevalence rate for both counties stood at 0.2 which is far below the national average.
INFIDELITY FUELS HIV SPREAD
As evident, the number of HIV new infections keeps soaring, a clear indicator that people are not doing enough to contain the spread of the virus. The national prevalence rate is currently 6.2 according to the KENYA AIDS EPIDEMIC UPDATE 2012 REPORT released early this year. According to recent reports, the HIV prevalence rate is highest among married couples, a finding that experts believe has been fuelled by rampant infidelity in marriages popularly known as mpango wa kando in Kenyan slang.
WIFE INHERITANCE AND ‘WIFE-SWAPPING’
Wife inheritance in Western and Nyanza counties and wife-swapping, which has also become a popular trend in urban areas, have been cited as the main reasons for soaring new infections in the leading counties with the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS.
“There is a puzzling attitude which is growing among young people who go on outings in groups and later on engage in wife swapping”, said Prof Alloys Orago, National Aids Control Council Director.
Prof, Alloys Orago – National Aids Control Council (NACC) Director
And true to Orago’s words, ‘wife-swapping’ is indeed prominent in Nairobi among young couples. ‘Swing couple’ is the popular name used in Nairobi to refer to a couple that another trades partners with for sexual encounters. Participants of the couple swapping trend believe that aside from the fun, trading partners also plays a role in enhancing a couple’s sexual life.
In most occasions, a ‘swing couple’ might be well known to the couple they are trading places with but in some circumstances they might just be random strangers who just happen to be in the same club (yes, they are clubs specifically organized for this activities!).
1.45 MILLION KENYANS LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS
One would expect prostitutes to lead in the list of the people living with HIV but ironically married couples take the lead. Kenya’s HIV/AIDs infected population stands at 1.45 million, with a record of 98,000 new adult infections annually, out of which 76% comprise married couples according to figures for 2011.