HIV/AIDS in Kenya

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Kenya has severe, generalized HIV epidemic, but in recent years, the country has experienced a notable decline in HIV prevalence, attributed in part to significant behavioral change and increased access to ART (antiretroviral drugs). Adult HIV prevalence is estimated to have fallen from 10 percent in the late 1990s to about 6.1 percent in 2005. Women face considerably higher risk of HIV infection than men, and also experience a shorter life expectancy due to HIV/AIDS. The 7th edition of AIDS in Kenya reports an HIV prevalence rate of eight percent in adult women and four percent in adult men. Populations in Kenya especially at risk include injecting drug users and people in prostitution, whose prevalence rates are estimated at 53 percent and 27 percent, respectively.[1] Men who have sex with men (MSM) are also at risk at a prevalence of 18.2%. Other groups also include discordant couples (where one partner is infected and the other is not), prison communities, uniformed forces, and truck drivers.[2]

Kenya is in a transitional period, with a government seeking to restructure many elements of the state. This context offers clear opportunities, but also many constraints for controlling HIV/AIDS. Human capacity development is a major concern and all partners are working to improve capabilities and human resource management systems to enable people to respond effectively to HIV/AIDS. The key to success will be developing effective mechanisms to engage these trained staff. In addition, efforts to employ auxiliary staff, such as adherence counselors and outreach workers, are a high priority. Treatment literacy is very low.

Overview of the HIV epidemic[edit]

Here is a brief overview of the HIV epidemic in the country as reported by the Ministry of Education in June 2014.[3][4][5]

  • 101,560 Kenyans were infected with HIV In 2013.
  • 12,940 children, 50,530 women, and 38,090 men were infected with HIV in 2013.
  • 65% of new HIV infections occur in 9 out of 47 counties.
County New HIV infections
Homa Bay 15,003
Kisumu 12,645
Siaya 12,059
Migori 8,292
Kisii 5,975
Nakuru 4,326
Turkana 3,141
Nyamira 2,507
Bomet 1,965
  • 21% of new adult HIV infections occur among young women aged 15–24 every year.
  • 1.6 million Kenyans were living with HIV in 2013.
  • 191,840 children were living with HIV In 2013.
  • 63% of men and 80% of women know their HIV status.

Current status[edit]

The Kenyan Ministry of Health published a report on June 2014 called Kenya HIV Prevention Revolution Road Map. The road map aims to dramatically strengthen HIV prevention, with the ultimate goal of reducing new HIV infections to zero by 2030. The following observations and conclusions were outlined:[3][6][7][8]

  • Sexual transmission accounts for 93.7% of all new HIV infections (MOT, 2008).
  • The HIV epidemic in Kenya exhibits extreme geographical and gender disparities. National estimates and modelling indicate that 65% of new adult infections occur in nine of the 47 Counties. There is higher prevalence among women at 7.6% compared to men at 5.6% . There is a treatment gap of over 99,500 women and 64,900 men, in need of ART but not currently receiving treatment. ART coverage is 77% in eligible women compared to 80% in men.
  • Key populations contribute a disproportionately high number of new HIV infections annually despite their small population size. According to the MOT 2008, although these populations represent less than 2% of the general population, they contribute a third of all new HIV infections. Key populations in Kenya include sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who inject drugs. Additionally, there are geographical disparities in the distribution of key populations across the Counties.

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