World Aids Day
World Aids Day has been commemorated since 1988 on the 1st of December. It creates an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and showing support for those living with the virus. This year’s theme is “Hands up for HIV prevention” which aims to look at ways to improve prevention strategies, identifying key areas among specific groups of people who are vulnerable to transmission- adolescent girls and young women.
A study conducted by the National Aids Control Council (NACC) shows that young people between the ages of 14-24 constitute the highest number of new HIV infections. “The numbers are unacceptably high and this is a serious challenge that needs multi-sectoral approach to address it” said National Aids Control Council (NACC) Executive Director Nduku Kilonzo. Kenya has 435, 224 adolescents living with HIV. Last year there were about 77,600 new infections out of which about 35,700 young people between 14-24 years had been infected with the virus. The numbers have been attributed to the increased influence of social media, television, curiosity and peer pressure. Nduku added that there is need to train teachers as well and review the curriculum so that right information on HIV will be shared to children and the public as well.
To commemorate this particular day Kivuli Dispensary was offering free services on VCT counseling, child clinic, laboratory tests, pharmacy and consultation to residents of Dagoretti sub-county. Kivuli Dispensary is part of the Riruta Health Programme under Koinonia Community, a non-governmental institution that caters for orphans and vulnerable children in the community. More than 200 people were treated and tested on various ailments today.
According to Alfred Nandwa a VCT counselor at Kivuli Dispensary, HIV testing is important in that one is able to continue staying negative if found negative and if one is found to be positive they will be advised on how to stay healthy and put on ARVs.
A statement by Michel Sidibé, executive director UNAIDS, said the world has committed to end the ongoing epidemic by 2030 and countries are increasingly working to stop transmission between mother and baby.