The government plans to put 300,000 Kenyans living with Aids on antiretroviral treatment in the next three years.
National Aids and sexually transmitted infections control programme head Ibrahim Mohamed said the move is in line with the national strategic plan to fight HIV and Aids in the country.
"During this period, we shall also prioritise to provide treatment for TB among patients living with HIV,” Dr Mohamed said during the opening of the 6th National HIV care and treatment consultative forum held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Wednesday.
Dr Mohamed said his Ministry was also concerned with the emergence of drug resistance TB among some patients.
“We are currently revising HIV treatment guidelines to ensure those requiring treatment are able to access the service,” Dr Mohamed said.
The three-day meeting assembles about 300 participants drawn from the Medical and Public Health ministries, parastatals, development partners, universities and people living with HIV and Aids under the theme: “Strengthening Health Systems for Universal Access to HIV Care and Treatment."
The Director of Medical Services Francis Kimani said since the introduction of antiretroviral therapy in Kenya, the number of those enrolled in the programme had increased from 10,000 in 2003 to the current 400,000.
In a speech read by Dr David Kiima, the DMS attributed the increase to commitment and leadership by the government in collaboration with development partners.
And in a bid to achieve universal access to HIV and Aids prevention, treatment and care services, Dr Kimani said, a recently launched report calls for renewal of political and funding commitments.
“We also need to improve the integration and linkages between HIV and Aids and related services such as TB, maternal and child health, sexual health and harm reduction for drug users,” Dr Kimani added.
The Medical Services Ministry, the DMS added, had also adjusted its programmes to be in line with the World Health Organisation guidelines which push for earlier start of antiretroviral therapy and extended prophylaxis for prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
“In a bid to achieve this, my Ministry has this year substantively increased its funding towards HIV and Aids drugs.
“Furthermore, the Ministry is facilitating reforms in our health insurance scheme to extend it and cover out-patient services where HIV and Aids services including antiretroviral therapy will be provided.”
Speaking on behalf of Prof Alloys Orago, the National Aids Control Council head, Dr Francis Muu said the the latest strategic plan aims at reducing the rate of new Aids infection by half.
“It is sad to note that out of the166,000 new infections occurring annually, 34,000 of the cases are children and we need to reduce this,” Dr Muu said.