Kenya’s HIV Prevalence Drops; Rates Among Women Higher Than Among Men, Group Says
HIV prevalence in Kenya has declined to 5.9% this year from 6.1% last year, and HIV prevalence among women in the country is 7.7%, compared with 4% among men, according to statistics released Wednesday by Kenya's National Aids Control Council, the East African Standard/AllAfrica.com reports (Mwai, East African Standard/AllAfrica.com, 10/12). NACC Acting Director Alloys Orago speaking Wednesday in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, attributed the decrease to several initiatives, including voluntary HIV testing and counseling and programs to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. According to Orago, 1.27 million Kenyans are HIV-positive, half of whom are women. Orago said the statistics show that the HIV prevalence of 4.5% among girls and women ages 15 to 24 is particularly high, compared with an HIV prevalence of 0.8% among boys in the same age group (Xhinua/People's Daily, 10/13). He also noted that 1.4 million pregnant women need HIV counseling and testing annually so they can know their status. "There is an increase in the number of children being born infected with HIV, meaning that there is still a large number of women who have not fully understood the message," Orago said. The latest NACC statistics also show a 9.6% HIV prevalence in urban areas, compared with a 4.6% HIV prevalence in rural areas (Nation/AllAfrica.com, 10/12).
Government Must Increase HIV/AIDS Funding
Some of the major challenges facing HIV/AIDS advocates are a lack of resources after a delay in the release of funds from the World Bank and lack of matching funds from the Kenyan government, Beatrice Gathirwa, NACC Deputy Director for Finance and Administration, said. "The government needs to match donor funding for HIV/AIDS intervention so that we can sustain the programs," Gathirwa said (Xhinua/People's Daily, 10/13). According to Gathirwa, the government is expected to provide about $623 million over the next five years for antiretroviral drugs and other HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention efforts. The NACC on Thursday launched a two-day conference with stakeholders from around the world to review the progress made in implementing the Kenya National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan (East African Standard/AllAfrica.com, 10/12).