Kenyan Business Leaders Publicly Take HIV Tests To Raise Awareness, Encourage Workers To Be Tested
About 26 business leaders in Kenya on Monday publicly received HIV tests through a program organized by the country's National AIDS Control Council to raise awareness about the disease and encourage employees to be tested, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/26).
The one-week program -- scheduled ahead of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 -- aims to reduce discrimination and stigma associated with HIV in the workplace (Mwai, East African Standard, 11/27). The program also aims to increase testing and reduce risky sexual behavior among young people. According to experts, increased testing would reduce up to 60,000 new HIV cases, particularly among people ages 15 to 24 (Mwaniki, Daily Nation, 11/27).
Manu Chandaria, chair of Mabati Rolling Mills, said HIV/AIDS should be taken seriously in the workplace, adding that employers should provide HIV-positive workers with "all the help they require" (East African Standard, 11/27). He added that the country's economic development could be threatened if young people do not know their HIV status. "The youth represent our future, and the best way to safeguard our posterity is ensure they undergo HIV testing and counseling," he said.
According to the Daily Nation, the business leaders have implemented HIV plans in their companies to encourage workers to be tested and receive treatment (Daily Nation, 11/27). Chandaria added that MRM would expand a clinic in Mariakani, Kenya, to offer HIV testing and counseling (East African Standard, 11/27).
Alloys Orago, NACC chief, said that the nearly 20 million people in Kenya's labor force are the "missing link" in the country's fight against HIV/AIDS. The country, which has a population of about 35 million, has an HIV prevalence of 5.1%, according to AFP/Yahoo! News (AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/26). According to NACC statistics, two million Kenyans have received an HIV test (East African Standard, 11/27).