, NAIROBI, Kenya, April 14 – The Global Business Coalition has embarked on a Sh4.3 billion initiative to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in Western Kenya.
The initiative, which involves Home Based Counselling and Testing (HCT), will target two million people over a period of two years.
National Aids Control Council Head of Communication Peter Mutie said on Tuesday that the initiative will help reduce the spread of the scourge by over 45 percent.
“This package is aimed at bringing the service to people and getting every Kenyan who should know their status, actually knowing it,” he said. “If we are going to achieve that vision of an AIDS free society, then prevention of new infections is actually going to take centre stage in the new strategy.”
The Global Business Coalition Impact Initiatives Vice President Henry Chang said that the program will supplement the government’s efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS.
“The goal of Health at Home Kenya Impact initiative is to provide HIV testing at the household,” he explained.
Mr Chang described the initiative as a move in the right direction in the fight against the pandemic.
“It is truly an integrative package of health services where the counsellors are equipped with this technology developed by the business sector,” he said.
Mr Chang added that through the program, families will be offered testing for tuberculosis and will receive both anti-malarial bed nets and de-worming medication.
He stated that the home based approach overcame significant obstacles to testing and treatment by eliminating the need for people to find places for testing and treatment.
He emphasised that when everyone was being visited and the home based method was used, the impact of the stigma was dramatically reduced.
Mr Chang exerted that the HCT approach was also more likely to identify infections early and improve the efficiency of treatment to help reduce the further spread of the virus.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic remains a significant global problem, with the brunt of the epidemic borne by developing countries.
Diagnosis and control of infection depends on affected individuals seeking and knowing their HIV status and changing their behaviour to remain uninfected, or if already HIV-infected, to seek to change their behaviour in order to avoid infecting others.
The uptake of VCT remains low, particularly in developing countries, and some of the challenges include ease of getting an HIV test.
Worldwide, it is estimated that 38 million people are infected with HIV, with over 90 percent in developing countries and 64 percent in sub-Saharan Africa alone.
In developing countries, only about 10 percent of those who need VCT have access to it.