By Caleb Mwamisi
New HIV infections in Kenya have been said to go down sharply. This is according to a report released by the Kenya Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (KENPHIA) 2018 report which was released on February 20th, 2020.
A most notable aspect of the report is perhaps the prevalence of the decease among the 40-59 age group where it is between 7.5% and 9.4% which is higher than all categories under the age of 40. This presents an aging group of PLVA who are at a declining productivity period of their lives. These people are in dire need of broadened health and nutrition support whereas government support is wanting, perhaps due to limited budgeted resources. This group will need to be studied more closely in order to pick out emerging trends in new infections for quicker response and adaptation in prevention or treatment approaches.
According to the report, treatment programs in Kenya have been successful and hence helping in the suppression of viral loads across the country. Of concern is higher rate infection among women of lower age groups (20-34) which is three times that of men in the same age category. This age group is considered highly active sexually and the main giver to the spread of the devastating virus. Women contract HIV easier than men due to the nature of their procreant organs, a reason which has meant that, in most nations struggling with HIV and AIDS, they lead men in infection numbers.
The report attributes the fall in infection rates in Kenya to Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC), a campaign that has targeted non-circumcising communities who have been adopting the practice over the years. Medical experts believe that circumcision reduces the chances of men contracting HIV by between 60 and 66%. Indeed, this study established that HIV prevalence among uncircumcised men was four times higher (10.3%) than in those circumcised (2.5%) in the hitherto non-circumcising communities.
Overall, 80% of HIV positive Kenyans know their status, 96% of those on treatment with 90% of them achieving viral suppression.