Nairobi, Homa Bay and Kisumu still at the top of HIV infection charts

Tuesday July 22 2014

A mobile Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) truck in Nairobi. According to a Ministry of Health document published in June 2014, counties in the former Nyanza province still lead in infections and numbers. Some of the most vulnerable groups are girls, gay men and prisoners. PHOTO | FILE

A mobile Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) truck in Nairobi. According to a Ministry of Health document published in June 2014, counties in the former Nyanza province still lead in infections and numbers. Some of the most vulnerable groups are girls, gay men and prisoners. PHOTO | FILE NATION MEDIA GROUP

SAMUEL SIRINGI
By SAMUEL SIRINGI
More by this Author

Nairobi county has the highest number of people infected with HIV, according to new Ministry of Health statistics.

The number of HIV positive people in the city is 177,552. It leads among the 47 counties.

This is according to this year’s Kenya HIV Prevention Revolution Road Map, a government document on guiding the country in tackling Aids.

It shows that more than 800,000 people with the virus reside in only 10 counties. An estimated 1.6 million people have the virus in Kenya.

Homa Bay closely follows Nairobi with 159,970 cases. Its neighbours Siaya, Kisumu, Migori and Kisii feature in the top 10 list. Nakuru, Kakamega, Mombasa and Kiambu are on the list in that order.

In the foreward of the document, Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia says HIV and Aids still remain a big problem because there are 101,560 new infections each year.

“Some counties have a higher HIV burden than others,” he says in the document published last month.

Counties with the least HIV cases are those in northern Kenya and other arid areas. Wajir has the lowest figure, with only 663 people having the virus. Others with few cases are West Pokot,  Samburu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Mandera, Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Lamu and Tana River.

According to the document, 65 per cent of HIV infections occur in nine of the 47 counties, with Homa Bay leading with 15,003 cases.

The document says there will be reduced HIV incidence among adults from the 2013 levels of 88,620 to 45,500 next year.

COUNTY GOVT INTERVENTIONS

The pandemic displays variable characteristics with respect to modes of transmission, age and sex differences. “Girls, women and key populations like sex workers, gay men, people who inject drugs and prisoners are disproportionately affected by HIV/Aids,” he writes.

He goes on to say that the document provides county governments with the relevant information required to make investment decisions for well-coordinated and high-impact interventions to reduce new infections.

The report suggests that if HIV prevention is well coordinated and funded, it would avert 1,1 million new infections and 761,000 Aids-related deaths by 2030.

The document recommends that HIV testing and counselling be simplified and offered as part of routine health services.

It urges counties to support integration of HIV services through annual work planning and budgets.

According to the document, all PSVs and trucks should have HIV and Aids prevention messages.

“All stations and bus termini should have male and female condom dispensers and information for accessing other HIV prevention services,” it adds.

It proposes that teachers’ unions be mobilised to conduct campaigns on HIV and Aids and against stigma in schools.

Under this programme, student unions should be supported to conduct the Stay Negative campaign. It also suggests that learners’ clubs be supported to conduct reproductive health, sexuality and HIV/Aids education.