Focus Shifts To Girls In The HIV/AIDS War.
Kenya will put a greater emphasis on girls and young women in its efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.
While HIV prevalence is higher in boys than in girls from birth to 14 years, it more than doubles in girls after 15 years, when many begin the sexual activity.
Between the ages of 20 and 34, the burden is three times greater in young women.
According to the National Aids Control Council, the virus is primarily transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding among children aged 0-14.
Nacc reveals that defilement is the main mode of transmission in children after breastfeeding, which is a concerning situation.
“In 2019, programme data showed that 20,362 children aged 10-14 were pregnant,” NACC says in the Kenya Aids Strategic Framework 2020/21-2024/25, which is being rolled out.
According to the plan, there is a need to target locations with high teenage pregnancies as a proxy indicator of increased risk of HIV infections among girls.
Kenya Health Information System (KHIS) reveals that adolescents aged 10 to 19 account for approximately 28% of all pregnancies registered in the country.
According to the strategy, women and girls continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty, violence, and injustice, making them vulnerable to HIV.
“KASF II will prioritise efforts that build synergies with other development agendas that seek to empower women and girls, thus reducing their vulnerability to HIV,” it says.
According to NACC director Ruth Laibon-Masha, the strategy is being implemented in collaboration with various stakeholders.
KASF II is based on recommendations based on lived experiences, epidemic analyses, and prior program implementation.
Mutahi Kagwe, Kenya’s Health Secretary, stated last year that the country has significantly reduced new HIV infections and Aids-related deaths since the first case in 1984.
Since then, approximately two million Kenyans have died as a result of Aids-related causes.
At the height of the epidemic in the mid-1990s, HIV reduced life expectancy by about 12 years and increased child mortality by 20%.
“To sustain the national response to HIV, KASF II outlines the need for innovative approaches to secure domestic resources, including through a ring-fenced fund,” he said.
Kenya is expected to improve antiretroviral therapy in children while addressing teen pregnancy.
The new framework states that the success of ART treatment programs among children (0-14 years) is largely dependent on early diagnosis and prompt ART initiation.
HIV treatment for infants declined last year as a result of a severe shortage of HIV test kits for infants and ARVs.
Kagwe stated in November that kits for testing HIV in infants would be available by January 2022.
For the past 11 months, diagnostic kits have been unavailable.
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“The Ministry of Health has been closely monitoring the global supply chain of all HIV commodities to ensure there are no stock-outs while exploring alternative viral load and early infant testing platforms,” he said.
These difficulties may have an impact on the new framework’s implementation.
The new framework aims to reduce new HIV infections by 75% while lowering Aids-related mortality by 50%.