We shouldn't become complacent about HIV

In Summary

• HIV prevalence in Busia has jumped from 7.8 percent to 9.9 percent in five years.

• The overall prevalence rate for Kenya is 4.9 percent, meaning that almost five percent of all adults are HIV-positive.

HIV testing process
HIV testing process

HIV prevalence in Busia has risen to 9.9 percent from 7.8 percent in 2015.

The recently released Kenya Population-based HIV Impact Assessment identifies Homa Bay, Kisumu, Siaya, Migori and Busia as the worst-affected counties. The overall prevalence for Kenya is 4.9 percent.

The Health ministry is focussing on the five worst-affected counties by getting women to attend antenatal clinics, ensuring HIV-positive people take their medication and increasing general awareness. The American government continues to provide antiretrovirals under the Pepfar programme.


The scary rise of HIV in Busia shows that we could quickly return to the bad old days of the early 1990s when HIV swept through East Africa.

The government should intensify its public education messages across the whole country to make Kenyans understand that HIV remains a real threat.

Fear caused behaviour change 20 years ago and HIV prevalence declined. Now people no longer consider HIV to be a death threat and are becoming less disciplined. The jump in HIV in Busia should encourage citizens to protect themselves by trying to be monogamous and, if they can't, by using a condom.

Quote of the day: "Nothing else in the world is so powerful as an idea whose time has come."

Victor Hugo
The French writer was born on February 26, 1802.