•Kenya has registered more than 51 per cent reduction in new HIV/AIDs infections from 100,000 per year in 2013 to 46,000
•Further, 68 per cent of people living with HIV were on treatment against the 90 per cent target
Kenya has registered more than 51 per cent reduction in new HIV/AIDs infections from 100,000 per year in 2013 to 46,000, a new report shows.
The report estimates that 1.6 million people were living with HIV in Kenya in 2018.
The World AIDs Day Report 2019 launched on Tuesday further shows that AIDS-related deaths have also been on a downward trend falling from 60,000 in 2014 to 28,000 in 2018.
“Only 59.8 per cent of women and men aged 15 to 24 years old correctly identified ways of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV,” the report states.
In 2017, the percentage of people living with HIV and tuberculosis who were being treated for both diseases was 49.1 per cent, up from 41.6 per cent in 2015.
The ARV coverage has also continued to improve in recent years with a total of 1.2 million people on treatment.
While the 90:90:90 targets aim to ensure that by 2020, 90 per cent of people living with HIV will know their HIV status, the report shows Kenya is close to the target as 89 per cent of people living with HIV knew their status.
Further, 68 per cent of people living with HIV were on treatment against the 90 per cent target.
“The results we are witnessing affirm that the HIV epidemic in Kenya is stabilising even as we move closer to the attainment of our 90:90:90 targets,” Health CS Sicily Kariuki said during the launch of the report in Thika.
Of all adults aged 15 years and over living with HIV, 69 per cent were on treatment, while 61 per cent of children aged 0 to14 years living with HIV were on treatment, it states.
In addition, 91 per cent of pregnant women living with HIV accessed antiretroviral medicine to prevent transmission of the virus to their baby, preventing 11,000 new HIV infections among newborns.
The percentage of HIV exposed infants tested for HIV before eight weeks of age stood at 67.3 per cent in 2018, as per the report.
“Despite the gains we have made, we are cognizant of the structural, economic and cultural barriers in accessing health care, which take us steps back in achieving an AIDS free society,” Kariuki noted.
“The Government of Kenya is committed to ensuring every Kenyan’s right to quality and affordable health care is guaranteed, through the Universal Health Care programme. This includes access to care and the availability of HIV commodities and medications for the people of Kenya, as we acknowledge the shrinking donor support.”
Of concern is that women are the worst hit by HIV in the country. According to the report, of the 1.4 million adults living with HIV, 910, 000 (65 per cent) were women.
New HIV infections among young women aged 15 to 24 years were more than double those among young men.
The statistics show that there were 11,000 new infections among young women, compared to 5,000 among young men.
However, HIV treatment was higher among women than men, with 75 per cent of adult women living with HIV on treatment, compared to 59 per cent of adult men.