- HIV prevalence has dropped from over 10 percent to around four percent in the last 20 years
- Antiretrovirals have played a big part in the falling HIV rate because they can reduce the viral load to virtually zero
The President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) by the American government was one of the most altruistic aid programmes in history.
Started by President George W Bush in 2003, Pepfar paid for free antiretrovirals in over 50 countries around the world, including Kenya.
Pepfar has helped bring down the HIV rate in Kenya to around four percent today from a high of 10.5 percent in 1996. This partly because the viral load drops to almost zero if an HIV-positive person takes antiretrovirals as prescribed. Pepfar has literally saved the lives of millions of people, including Kenyans.
However, after 20 years, the appetite for Pepfar is languishing in the American political establishment. A five-year $6.8 billion package for Pepfar is presently stuck in Congress. It may never get passed.
Government needs to activate Plan B. Yes, the budget should be adjusted to carry the cost of providing free antiretrovirals to Kenyans. But social messaging costs very little. Government should resume anti-HIV campaigns warning Kenyans that HIV is still a threat and encouraging them to love safely.
Quote of the day: “I feel like people are expecting me to fail; therefore, I expect myself to win.”
He became Formula One world champion for the seventh time on November 15, 2020