Over the next two years the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya is expected to rise to 1.8 million from the current 1.6 million says a new report, The Kenya Aids Epidemic Update 2012, released by the National Aids Control Council (NACC).
More than 91,000 people contracted HIV in Kenya in 2011, says the report, which suggests that one in 200 adults is likely to get the virus annually. Nyanza Province was identified as having the highest incidence of new HIV infection, some 25% of the total.
WOMEN MOST AT RISK
The study reveals that women make up the highest percentage of adults living with HIV, with the prevalence of the virus among women standing at 8% while among men its 4%, a fact that has led to the increase of babies born with HIV. In 2011, 12,894 babies were infected with HIV. However thanks to maternal healthcare, all the measures are being taken to ensure that HIV mothers give birth to HIV- negative children.
The report comes just two months after Kenya was applauded in another report by the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for being among six African countries that have recorded a distinctive drop in new HIV infections in children.
MORE PEOPLE GETTING TESTED
According to NACC Director Alloy Orago, various social factors among them gender inequality, sexual violence and stigma have increased the risk of HIV and vulnerability.
The study also noted that more people where were getting keen to know their HIV status: “More than 5.7 million people were tested for HIV in various parts of the country”, said Orago.
Kenya has some of the highest rates of HIV infection in Africa and the government has been keen to reduce the incidence of new infection. Consistent use of condoms, voluntary male circumcision and use of ARVS are some of the methods being used to control HIV in the country.
Male circumcision has also been proved to reduce the risk of HIV transmission from female to male by at least 60% and so far “more than 230,000 men underwent voluntary medical circumcision”, says the report.