MOST AT-RISK GROUPS IGNORED

Kenya misses 2020 HIV targets, narrowly

Unaids blames stigma on gay men, sex workers, people who inject drugs and prisoners.

In Summary

• In East Africa only Uganda and Rwanda have achieved the 90-90-90 targets.

• The targets were agreed around the world in 2014 and are aimed at ending HIV epidemic by 2030.

Gay activists in Nairobi Kenya protesting against arrests on February 10, 2014.
Gay activists in Nairobi Kenya protesting against arrests on February 10, 2014.
Image: File

Kenya has narrowly missed the global 90-90-90 HIV targets.

The country was expected to diagnose 90 per cent of all HIV-positive persons, provide ARVs for 90 per cent of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 90 per cent of those treated by 2020.

The targets were agreed around the world in 2014 and are aimed at ending the HIV epidemic by 2030.

 

A new report by UnaidsSeizing the Moment, says Kenya missed the mark largely because gay men, sex workers, people who inject drugs and prisoners were left behind. These are high risk populations.  

Last year 89 per cent  of all HIV positive people in Kenya knew their status and 77 per cent were on ARVs, according to Unaids. The Ministry of Health says 82 per cent were virally suppressed.

The report shows in East Africa only Uganda and Rwanda have achieved the 90-90-90 targets.

Across Africa, seven countries have achieved the feat, the rest being Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

"Three others are very close to doing so -Kenya, Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania," the report says.

Eswatini is doing so well that it has surpassed the targets to achieve 95–95–95.

The country has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, at 27 per cent in 2019.

 

“We cannot rest on our successes, nor be discouraged by setbacks. We are aiming for 100–100–100,” said Ambrose Dlamini, the Prime Minister of Eswatini, in a statement.

The Unaids report highlights just how urgent it is for countries to double down and act with greater urgency to reach the millions still left behind.

“Every day in the next decade decisive action is needed to get the world back on track to end the Aids epidemic by 2030,” said Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of Unaids.

“Stigma and discrimination and widespread inequalities are major barriers to ending Aids. Countries need to listen to the evidence and step up to their human rights responsibilities.”

Millions of lives and new infections have been saved by the scale-up of antiretroviral therapy.

In Kenya, of the 1.5 million people living with HIV, at least one million are on treatment.

However, about 36,000 people died of Aids-related illnesses last year.

Seizing the Moment shows unequal progress, with too many vulnerable people and populations left behind around the world.

Marginalised populations who fear judgement, violence or arrest struggle to access sexual and reproductive health services, especially those related to contraception and HIV prevention.

Women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa are still the most affected and accounted for 59 per cent of all new HIV infections in the region in 2019, with 4,500 adolescent girls and young women between 15 and 24 years old becoming infected with HIV every week.

Young women accounted for 24 per cent of new HIV infections in 2019, despite making up only 10 per cent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa.

(edited by o. owino)