Kenya's HIV Prevalence Decreases

Armen Hareyan's picture

Alloys Orago, director of Kenya's National AIDS Control Council, onMonday at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, released new statisticsthat show a significant decline in HIV prevalence and new HIV cases,the East African Standard reports.Orago said that Kenya is one of three African nations that recently hasmade significant progress in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.

According to the new statistics, Kenya's HIV prevalence was 5.1% in 2006, down from 5.9% in 2005 and 6.1% in 2004 (Ojanji, East African Standard, 8/14). According to Kenya's The Nation,an estimated one million people are HIV-positive in the country,934,000 of whom are ages 15 to 49 and 102,000 of whom are younger thanage 14. HIV prevalence among men was 3.5% in 2006, compared with 6.7%among women (Wachira, The Nation, 8/14). The country recorded 55,000 new HIV cases in 2006, compared with 60,000 in 2005 and 85,000 in 2004.

HIVprevalence in urban areas is about 8.3%, compared with 4% in ruralareas. In addition, deaths from AIDS-related causes decreased from120,000 in 2003 to 85,000 in 2006. Orago attributed the decrease inAIDS-related deaths to increased access to antiretroviral drugs, addingthat antiretrovirals have prevented about 57,000 deaths fromAIDS-related illnesses since 2001 (East African Standard, 8/14). The Kenyan government provides access to no-cost antiretrovirals to HIV-positive people, The Nation reports (The Nation, 8/14).

NACCChair Miriam Were said a well-coordinated HIV/AIDS prevention andtreatment program that brought together several groups has helped todecrease HIV prevalence in the country. In addition, Were said thatbehavioral changes among young people and adults -- such as sexualabstinence, delaying sexual activity and using condoms -- also havehelped Kenya's fight against HIV/AIDS.


According to Orago,although Kenya has made progress in fighting HIV/AIDS, there still aremany challenges. "These figures illustrate the magnitude of theinherent task in providing prevention, treatment, care and supportservices to ensure universal access," Orago said (East African Standard,8/14). Orago added that the country still should work to reduce deathsfrom AIDS-related illnesses because at least 233 people continue to diedaily from such causes (The Nation, 8/14).

According to the Standard,more than 1.5 million pregnant women will need HIV testing andcounseling annually. Additional health workers and antiretrovirals for68,000 women will be needed annually to prevent mother-to-child HIVtransmissions, Orago said (East African Standard, 8/14). In addition, there are 2.4 million AIDS orphans in the country, The Nation reports (The Nation, 8/14).

NACC Obtains Oral HIV Tests To Sell to Public

In related news, NACC on Monday announced that it has obtained Bethlehem, Pa.-based OraSure Technologies' OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV 1/2 Antibody Test and Calypte Biomedical's Calypte Aware Rapid Test to be sold to the public, Business Daily reports (Albert, Business Day,8/14). The OraQuick test requires users to swab their gums and thenplace the swab in a holder. After 20 minutes, one line appears on thestrip if the test result is negative and the person is HIV-negative andtwo appear if the result is positive and the person is HIV-positive.Positive results require a follow-up test with a medical professionalfor confirmation (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/5).

Thetests are expected to be available by Dec. 1 to mark World AIDS Day,Orago said. The tests will be sold for about 195 shillings, or $3, to325 shillings, or $5, Business Daily reports. About10,000 people participated in a pilot phase of the project, whichrequires final approval from Kenya's Parliament, according to Orago. Headded that the tests will be sold only to people who have received HIVcounseling (Business Day, 8/14).


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