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August 21, 2018

Homa Bay men urged to go for HIV test to curb virus' spread


The Men Engage Kenya Network (MenKen) chairman Fred Nyagah and Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti during the launch of HIV-Aids testing for men initiative at Awiti's office in Homa Bay town on February 12,2018.
CREDIT	Robert Omollo
The Men Engage Kenya Network (MenKen) chairman Fred Nyagah and Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti during the launch of HIV-Aids testing for men initiative at Awiti's office in Homa Bay town on February 12,2018. CREDIT Robert Omollo

Homa Bay county has partnered with a United Nation’s funded organisation to sensitise men to go for HIV/Aids testing.

The initiative by Men Engage Kenya Network is facilitated by UNAIDS and aims at encouraging men to take a test.

Read: Eight Homa Bay teens ‘get HIV every day’

Speaking during the launch of the programme, Governor Cyprian Awiti and Menken chairman Fred Nyagah said the initiative would help the health department to have evidence informed and cost-effective approaches on the fight against the disease.

"The first and prudent step in the fight against HIV is to know your status. I, therefore, call upon the male population in Homa Bay to go for testing at comprehensive care centres to enable us to manage the menace," Awiti said.

According to National Aids Control Council (NACC) report of 2017, Homa Bay has the highest HIV-Aids prevalence.

Currently, the spread rate stands at 26 per cent with a prevalence rate of 24 per cent among adult males and 28 per cent among adult females.

This contributes to 10 per cent of the total male population living in Kenya.

Also read: Homa Bay health players join hands to fight HIV-Aids

Awiti expressed confidence that the sensitization initiative will help scale up the male involvement in the fight against the disease.

“Let men in this county embrace this idea since records show a majority of them don’t know their status,” Awiti said.

The governor said the three-year programme began in August 2017 in South Kasipul ward in Rachuonyo South Sub County.

Other group involved in the programme includes the Kenya Network of Religious Leaders Association (KNRLA).

"We’re working closely with Menken and KNRLA to increase the HIV testing awareness campaign message to all the 40 wards in the county," he added.

Nyagah said they have been engaging men in the community on a one-on-one meeting to understand the need for testing on HIV-Aids.

"We’ve tested only 400 men since we began the project. But we hope a joined campaign will ensure the male population come out and get tested and upscale the number," Nyagah said.

Read more: Special programme targeting adolescents against HIV/Aids in Homa Bay launched

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