HIGH STIGMATISATION

Council raises concern over rising HIV-Aids infections among adolescents

Garissa regional coordinator attributes new infections to lack of parental guidance and indulgence in unprotected sex

In Summary

National Aids Control Council says lack of knowledge on sexual health and unprotected sex among young people is to blame

NACC regional coordinator for Garissa, Tana River and Lamu counties during a press conference after a HIV-Aids workshop in Garissa town on Friday September 13, 2019
CONCERNED: NACC regional coordinator for Garissa, Tana River and Lamu counties during a press conference after a HIV-Aids workshop in Garissa town on Friday September 13, 2019
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

 

The National Aids Control Council has raised alarm over the rising cases of new infections among adolescents in Garissa.

Speaking on the sidelines of an HIV-Aids workshop in Garissa town on Friday, regional coordinator Wario Boru attributed the new cases to lack of parental guidance and too much freedom for schoolgoing teens during holidays.

He cited lack of knowledge on sexual health and indulgence in unprotected sex as other contributing factors. He said most victims were befriending elderly ladies and men who could already be infected.

The workshop was meant to sensitise residents on their rights to test for the virus.

Garissa remains one of the counties with the lowest HIV-Aids prevalence rates at 0.8 per cent against the national average of 4.8 per cent according to the 2018 estimates, Boru said.

"There must be a deliberate effort by all stakeholders to sensitise the young people on how to stay safe," Boru said.

North-Eastern region, mostly inhabited by pastoral communities, is one of those with the highest percentage of stigma at 50 per cent. Boru attributed the fact to socio-cultural reasons.

He said those living with the virus can seek redress when their rights are violated including being tested without their consent and when test results are shared with a third party.

Local activist Mariam Hassan urged the council to work with community-based organisations to sensitise residents especially those in rural areas.

“Our people are yet not accepted that HIV-Aids can be managed. They still see those infected as immoral people who are more like outcasts,” Miriam said.

 

edited by peter obuya