Kilifi, KENYA: Two people out of three in a total of 22, 606 people living with HIV in Kilifi County are women, a new report has shown.
This is according to a report released by National AIDS Control Council (NACC) during a launch of Kilifi County AIDS strategic and Nutrition Action plans that took place at Pwani University on Wednesday.
Dr Emily Cheshire, the deputy director of National Aids Control Council (NACC) said the county has a population of 1.3 million people, with an estimated rate of 700 people.
According to the Kilifi County HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan 2016-2020, the high HIV prevalence is concentrated in the urban centers of Mtwapa, Kilifi, Malindi, Watamu, Mariakani and Kaloleni.
“When we look at the national HIV response as a country we are fourth largest in the world with this epidemic and in Kenya we have 1.6 milion people living with HIV,” Dr. Chesire said.
“Last year we had about 76,000 people with new HIV infections and most appealing is the young people and adolescents who contribute to 51% of the total number of people living with HIV,” Dr. Chesire added.
She said the HIV burden is expected to increase if the incident will not be checked and reduced.
Dr Cheshire who was accompanied by NACC officers and NACC Coast Coast regional coordinator, Mr Julius Koome, at the launch, urged residents to go for HIV tests in order to reduce mortality rate in the country.
The launch was also graced by Kilifi County Deputy Governor Kenneth Kamto and Kilifi CEC in charge Health services Racheal Musyoki and Kilifi County Chief Officer of Health Dr. Timothy Malingi,
Deputy Governor Kamto said HIV/AIDS is no longer a killer but a disease like any other and the victim should accept him/herself and follow the required instructions from doctors.
He urged citizens to avoid stigma and discrimination of infected people as that would even increase infections.
“The time has come when we should gang up to prevent more HIV infections in this county and the entire country as a whole, stigma is a very big contributing factor to these new infections as we have had from Dr. Chesire and that cost the lives of many Kenyans,” said Kamto.
Kilifi County is classified as medium HIV County, according to the National HIV&AIDS Estimates, 2014.
The county HIV prevalence during the same period was 4.4%, slightly lower than the national prevalence of 5.6%.
The annual deaths related to HIV stood at 991 in 2015.
There are a number of facilities that offer HIV related services such as counselling and testing, care and treatment and responding to co-morbidity.
The launched was done in support of various NGO’s including UNICEF, CISP, Kenya Red Cross among others.