HIV infection rate declines by 40 per cent

Report
from Kenya Daily Nation
Published on 25 Jun 2013 View Original

By LUCAS BARASA lbarassa@ke.natiomedia.com
Posted Tuesday, June 25 2013 at 19:33

IN SUMMARY
- Prostitutes, homosexuals and fishermen make up 33.3 per cent of new infections.
- The prevalence rate of women was nearly double that of men.

The number of people newly infected by the HIV virus has reduced by 40 per cent in the last five years, an agency that fights the disease said.

The National Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infection Control Programme (Nascop) head William Maina said the decrease in infection follows the scaling up of prevention programmes and awareness.

Speaking to journalists after officially opening a conference to promote the integration of health services at Panafric Hotel in Nairobi Tuesday, Dr Maina said they have also stepped up campaigns to encourage more people to go for testing.

“The country has performed well in the prevention of HIV/Aids,” he said.

Partners most at risk

Dr Maina revealed that said 44 per cent of new transmission occur among steady partners as they trust each other and do not use condoms.

Prostitutes, homosexuals and fishermen make up 33.3 per cent of new infections.

“They are about 170,000 people and contribute more to the 91,000 new infections annually,” added the Nascop boss.

He said that the agency had developed education packages for the groups, educated them to know their status and demand for safe sex.

The prevalence rate of women was nearly double that of men.

In 2007, Dr Maina said, only 36 per cent of persons living with HIV/Aids knew their status, but this figure has now grown to 70 per cent.

An estimated 6.3 per cent of Kenyans are living with the disease and Dr Maina said 610,000 were on anti-retroviral drugs.

The medic said 92 per cent of mothers who visited government owned ante-natal clinics were provided with integrated services to prevent mother to child transmission.

Dr Maina noted that out of the 1.2 million pregnancies annually, 87,000 of the mothers are HIV positive.

He said 1,300 babies are infected with the virus annually either during pregnancy or through breast-feeding.

“We are now focusing on prevention of mother to child transmission to keep the woman alive so that she can take care of the baby,” Dr Maina said.

Dr Maina said ARVs had also gone along way in reducing infections as the treatment reduces transmission by more than 90 per cent.

He said male circumcision also reduces the rate of HIV infection by about 60 per cent.