TESTING ENCOURAGED

Sex trade blamed for high HIV rate among Uasin Gishu youth

County official says youths make up over half of new infections, especially in informal settlements.

In Summary

• Most affected informal settlements include Munyaka Langas, Huruma and Kamukunji.

• He says rates of epidemic have increased due to dropping out of school.   

A HIV testing kit.
SELF TEST: A HIV testing kit.
Image: FILE

The youth are the most affected by HIV-Aids in Uasin Gishu.

County coordinator Simon Rono said those aged between 15 and 24 make up more than half of the county's new HIV infections. The biggest driver of infections is the sex trade, especially in informal settlements.

He spoke to the media during the World Aids Day that was marked at Zion Mall in Eldoret town on Sunday.  

Last year, there were 780 new cases of HIV infections. As of September this year, there were 1,000 new cases reported and it is expected to increase to more than 1,200 by year's end, Rono said.

He attributed the epidemic in informal settlements to girls dropping out of school, which also results in teen pregnancies.

The informal settlements affected in Uasin Gishu include Munyaka Langas, Huruma and Kamukunji.

Rono further urged Kenyans not to shy off from testing to know their status so they can begin taking drugs and staying healthy.

He warned Kenyans against stigmatising those infected with HIV "since if you are not infected you are affected in one way or another".

"You should give support to those infected instead of shunning them which makes life unbearable for them."

Edited by R.Wamochie