Face change as Kenyan population in this age bracket now accounts for half of new HIV infections

COUPLE HOLDING HANDS PHOTO/COURTESY

49 percent of new HIV infections in Kenya are among the youth in the 15-24 age group, this is according to the newly released HIV transmission data by the National Aids Control Council.

The statistic implies that in every two new infections, one of the affected persons is a youth.

According to the National Aids Control Council director, Mrs. Nduku Kilonzo, the rise in transmission of the virus among the youth is as a result of poor dissemination of information related to HIV by health practitioners and stake holders.

The church, schools and parents have equally been blamed for failing to talk about transmission of the virus, a situation that has greatly contributed to breakdown in the flow of information with the latest data indicating that only half of the young people have the right information about HIV Aids, despite over 90 percent of them being aware about the existence of the virus.

Mrs. Ndiku says the HIV epidemic has been changing faces in the last 30 years from women who were mostly affected, to couples who research had shown were leading in new infections; and now the youth, begging the question on what the state and the society needs to do to reverse the transmission.

Mrs. Ndiku however raised concern over the continued stigmatization of people living with HIV adding that HIV/Aids is the leading cause of death among adolescent and young people –  an occurrence that has been brought about by stigma and discrimination, which makes the affected young people to shy away from taking their medication and adhering to good practice.

To reverse the situation, NACC in collaboration with other stake holders have embarked on an information dissemination campaign targeting over 14 million people across the country.

The campaign will see the commission reach 10 million people through different media platforms in an effort to give the right information on HIV, reach 3 million youths through direct interaction and carry out HIV testing to more than 1 million youths.

Already, the anti-HIV crusader in collaboration with the Kenya Premier league has launched Maisha County League – a football competition involving both male and female that will be played in all the 47 Counties- in an effort to bring the youth together to share information on HIV.

 

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