NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is in Kisii County to preside over this year’s commemoration of World AIDS Day.
The event whose theme is ‘Towards UHC: Communities united for a HIV Free Generation’, is focusing on community involvement as part of a national strategy in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“Communities of people living with and affected by HIV, along with peer educators, counselors, community health workers, door-to-door service providers, civil society organizations and grass-roots activists, are leading and campaigning to ensure that the AIDS response remains relevant,” says a statement by the National AIDS Control Council (NACC).
“They are fighting to keep people at the center of decision-making and program implementation and help to ensure that no one is left behind,” it adds.
In 2018, Kenya had 1.6 million people living with HIV, according to UNAIDS.
At the same time, at least 25,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses, while 46,000 people were infected.
UNAIDS further reveals that 89 percent of people living with HIV know their status, while 68 percent of people are on treatment.
NACC, however, notes that the country has continued to register significant strides against the epidemic largely due to communities’ support.
According to the Council, new infections have dropped by 50 percent and AIDS-related deaths by 30 percent over the last 9 years.
However, the fight continues to face challenges hampering efforts to end AIDS by 2030.
NACC says stigma remains high, as do new infections, especially among young people. There has also been a reduction in funding, which NACC says is an opportunity to grow community activism.
“Today more than ever communities are needed to ensure that HIV remains on the political agenda that human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled and that decision-makers and implementers are held accountable,” NACC says.