Post-election Violence in Kenya Preventing Nearly 2,400 From Accessing Antiretrovirals, AIDS Council Says
Post-election violence in Kenya has prevented 2,391 HIV-positive people from accessing antiretrovirals, the country's National AIDS Control Council recently said, Business Daily/AllAfrica.com reports. More than 300,000 people have been internally displaced since the violence began in late December 2007. "Basing our estimates on the national prevalence rate, 15,000 HIV-positive people have been affected, with half of them remaining on treatment," NACC said in a statement.
Peter Mutie, head of communications at NACC, said restrictions on movement through some regions of the country have affected the delivery of antiretrovirals. Mutie said preliminary data showed that most of the internally displaced people living with HIV/AIDS are not eating the recommended foods. Mutie noted that efforts have been made in some IDP camps to supply condoms, information and post-exposure prophylaxis for rape survivors. Ten rape cases have been reported so far in three camps in Nairobi, and six have been treated, according to Business Daily/AllAfrica.com.
Displacement of people is seen as a heavy setback in the fight against HIV/AIDS, BusinessDaily/AllAfrica.com reports. According to a 2007 UNAIDS report, HIV prevalence in Kenya has decreased from a high of 14% in the mid-1990s to 5% in 2006. Mutie said that if the violence is not "urgently contained, we expect a sharp increase in infections and death of patients due to the poor conditions in the camps and lawlessness that makes it easier for sexual offenses to be committed." He also noted that the economy will suffer as people who cannot access their medicines become ill and are not able to work. "If the situation does not go back to normal, Kenya is going to suffer very much in the fight against AIDS," Mutie said (Business Daily/AllAfrica.com, 2/25).