, NAIROBI Kenya, Aug 23 – HIV/AIDS remains a major health burden in Kenya despite numerous efforts to contain the scourge, according to a new study from the University of Washington.
The study indicates that 18.1 percent of annual deaths in the country are as a result of HIV/AIDS related complications, while the epidemic accounts for 15.3 percent of national disease burden.
The report indicates that the disease is ranked as the number one cause of disability-adjusted life which constitutes years of life lost to premature death and years lived with disability in the country.
It further shows that HIV is the number one cause of disease burden for men aged 30 to 44 and women aged 25 to 44.
The researchers underscore the achievements that have been made against HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Much of sub-Saharan Africa has had stunning success in driving down rates of death from HIV/AIDS,” said Dr Felix Masiye, Head of the Department of Economics at the University of Zambia and a leading health metrics researcher in East Africa.
“But other countries have lagged in implementing effective interventions and treatments, and the consequences have been deadly. Even in African countries that are showing significant progress – like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and others – HIV remains a tremendous health threat and continued vigilance will be critical.”
The researchers say that the small success experienced has been largely due to substantial global action, policy changes and funding.
“Between 2002 and 2010, development assistance for health targeting HIV/AIDS increased from $1.4 billion to $6.8 billion – an increase of 385.7 percent that does not include funds spent by low- and middle-income countries themselves.”
Increased access to anti-retroviral drugs has also accompanied declines in incidence and more interventions to prevent mother-to-child transmission.
In countries like South Africa, the picture is even more striking; the report shows that in 2010, HIV/AIDS caused 75 percent of deaths among people aged 30 to 34; the figure rose to 84 percent for women in that age group.