NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 21 – A latest study from the Global Burden of Disease collaborative network has revealed that Kenya’s rate of new HIV infections has risen steadily over the past decade more than other nations in sub-Saharan Africa.
Between 2005 and 2015, the number of new HIV cases grew by an average of 7.1 per cent per year in Kenya, one of the highest increases in the world.
The number of new infections decreased over the same period in Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda.
Kenya is also one of a small set of countries where HIV prevalence was more than 2.5 per cent of the population in 2015. At the same time, Kenya’s antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage is 39 per cent below the regional average of 43 per cent.
Despite this combination of high rates of new infections and the rise of people living with HIV in Kenya, the number of Kenyans dying from the disease has been cut in half from 120,670 in 2005 to 51,700 in 2015.
“There is need for a more proactive approach in countering new HIV infections in Kenya. Voluntary testing and treatment is key in avoiding further spread of the virus especially for expectant mothers who need to be sensitized on the importance of delivering in hospital where care givers can help prevent mother to child transmission during birth through administration of ARVs,” said Tom Achoki, a Clinical Assistant Professor and Senior Engagement Officer at the Institute for Heath Metrics and Evaluation.
The study found that 74 countries saw increases in age-standardized rates of new infections between 2005 and 2015, including Kenya, Egypt, Pakistan, the Philippines, Cambodia, Mexico and Russia.
The new research, released at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, also found that while the global number of new cases continues to decline, the pace has greatly slowed.