HIV and AIDS prevalence on the rise in Kajiado County
Kajiado leaders and health practitioners have raised alarm over the increasing prevalence rate of HIV and AIDs infections in the County.
According to Kenya AIDs indicator Survey reports Kajiado County HIV prevalence rate has continued to increase from 3.9 percent in 2007 to 4.4 percent currently.
Kajiado Deputy Governor Martin Mosisho challenged residents to know their HIV status through testing.
Mosisho who publicly tested his HIV status on Friday during the World AIDs day celebrations in Kiserian Town of Kajiado West said unless a person is tested, they remain either positive or negative.
“It is good to be tested in order to avoid more spread of the disease and strive towards zero new infections,” urged the Deputy Governor.
He said the war against HIV and AIDs pandemic in the County is still on, since the statistics have revealed that 24,000 people are living with the disease.
Mosisho noted that the health infrastructures available has continued to be overwhelmed as the disease burden continue presenting unique challenges each day.
Deputy Governor said the County Government has prioritised resource mobilisation towards HIV/AIDs interventions in order to contribute towards the achievement of National Sustainable development Goals.
However, he urged the people to avoid discriminating against HIV and AIDs victims, saying this leads to stigmatisation.
“Knowing HIV and AIDs status in the past was considered a hard task and many people feared testing, but today its part of life since one would start medication that prolong life,” said Mosisho.
He continued “It is knowing your status that we shall get rid of HIV and AIDs related deaths,” Mosisho challenged residents.
Similarly, Kajiado County Director for Health Dr. Ezekiel Kapkwony, challenged residents to get tested.
Kapkwony said 41 percent of Kajiado population, which is about 400,000 people have not tested for HIV and AIDs status which continue to escalate a worrying trend of new infections.
“We are continuing to champion campaigns with our health partners for free HIV and AIDs testing across the County to ensure people come out to know their status,” he said.
He said already night testing for people fearing to be seen at the VCT centres during the day has been launched in the remote areas of Kajiado West and Kajiado South to enable residents know their status.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure testing of the remaining 400,000 residents is successful, because this is the only way to eradicate new infections,” Kapkwony noted.
He said statistics indicates that 21 percent of adult new HIV infections occurs among women aged 15 -24 and 16 percent of all people living with HIV are adolescents and youth.
He added that the County has an estimated number of 5,800 adolescents and young adults living with HIV and about 448 new infections occur annually.
He reiterated that Kajiado County is ranked 4th nationally on teenage pregnancies, where nearly all of them do not know their status and they continue propagating unprotected sexual relationships.
“It is time for parents and care givers to talk about sexual relationships openly with their teenagers if we are to stop new infections amongst our youth,” Kapkwony said.
He said the County Government together with other health partners has facilitated the running of VCT centres in all the Health centres across Kajiado, which he noted, has made it possible for HIV and AIDs victims to get Antiretroviral medication within closer distance.
Kapwony said proximity of VCT centres has made it easier to track HIV and AIDs patients to ensure there is no defaulting in taking drugs which is a milestone achievement.
He noted that Kajiado County is almost eliminating Mother-to-child transmission of HIV as it stands at 98 percent zero infections amongst new born.
He lauded the pregnant mothers for coming out to end mother-to-child transmission through constant visits to clinics and completing recommended clinic dates.
On the other hand, Kajiado West Deputy County Commissioner William ole Kakimoi put on notice unlicensed liquor dealers urging them that their days were numbered.
Kakimoi said liquor dens were among the major places where new HIV and Aids infections take place.
He said it is a requirement for any liquor joints to have protectives like condoms for their customers at all time to curb new infections of HIV and AIDs.
The DCC said the administrators were alert in Kajiado West during the festive season to ensure cultural practices including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was not carried out in the area.
“It is through such cultural practices that HIV and AIDs new infections continue to escalate in our County,” Kakimoi warned.
By Nelly Kosgey