Kenya’s National AIDS Control Council Says That Recent Violence, Sexual Assaults Will Reverse Gains Made Against HIV/AIDS
Widespread sexual assaults during postelection violence in Kenya likely will reverse gains made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Miriam Were, chair of the country's National AIDS Control Council, said Tuesday, the Nation/AllAfrica.com reports (Nation/AllAfrica.com, 1/3). The political and tribal violence broke out after Kenya's president Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over Raila Odinga, the opposition presidential candidate, by a narrow margin on Sunday despite "widespread evidence of ballot rigging," the New York Times reports (Gettleman, New York Times, 1/3).
According to the Nation/AllAfrica.com, 19 women and girls on Tuesday were admitted to Nairobi Women's Hospital after they were sexually assaulted in various locations throughout the city. Men and boys who were sexually assaulted also were admitted to hospitals, the Nation/AllAfrica.com reports. Were on Wednesday urged rape survivors to ensure they receive post-exposure prophylaxis with antiretroviral drugs from the closest public health facility within 24 hours and no more than 72 hours following the assault. NACC warned that the number of HIV cases likely will increase following the violence (Nation/AllAfrica.com, 1/3).
According to statistics released in August 2007, Kenya's HIV prevalence was 5.1% in 2006, down from 5.9% in 2005 and 6.1% in 2004. An estimated one million people are HIV-positive in the country, 934,000 of whom are ages 15 to 49 and 102,000 of whom are younger than age 14. The country recorded 55,000 new HIV cases in 2006, compared with 60,000 in 2005 and 85,000 in 2004 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/17/07).