Kisii governor, Simba Arati has lauded healthcare providers in the county for their efforts in reducing the HIV prevalence rate from 8.9 percent in 2021 to 4.7 percent this year.
Speaking during the commemoration of World AIDS Day 2022 held at Nyanturago stadium in Nyaribari Chache constituency, Arati also expressed his gratitude to the international community saying their support has made HIV treatment, prevention and care available to everyone, not just the elite.
“Notably, with support from our implementing partners, we now offer free HIV testing services in all health facilities and each year we carry out about 100,000 HIV tests,” said Arati.
He noted that this year’s global theme, EQUALISE, a call to End Inequalities that impact access to HIV treatment and prevention services offers an opportunity for the country and the county to pause, reflect and renew the commitment to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat.
The county Boss noted the triple threat of new HIV infections, teenage pregnancies, and gender-based violence is alive in Kisii county adding that he is confident they can address this inequality that perpetuates HIV/AIDS.
Arati pointed out that women are most affected by HIV with prevalence rate of 5.5 percent while men’s rate is 2.9 percent.
“This has been compounded by GBV, stigma, discrimination, teenage pregnancies, and lack of access to quality testing services,” he said.
If we are not careful, this disease will wipe out an entire generation of girls and women,” he added.
In order to eliminate AIDS by 2030 he called for prompt action to end the inequalities in the county including deliberately testing for HIV, keeping girls in school, eradicating drugs and substance abuse, eliminating kangaroo courts in the village, improving access to anti-retroviral drugs and ensure mothers attend anti-natal clinic among others.
The National Syndemic Diseases Control Council (NSDCC) Representative, Dr Linnet Mogeni said the past year has been challenging for many due to the shifts and transitions brought about by Covid-19 and has destabilised many nations including Kenya.
She noted that this change compromised the health sector by reducing access to essential services while increasing the risks and vulnerabilities of the people living with HIV/AIDS.
“In 2021 globally, a life was lost to HIV every minute translating to three lives lost every hour in Kenya. Kisii County is included in these statistics and if this situation is not managed, we will lose it,” the NSDCC Representative said.
Dr Mogeni pointed out that the management and control of HIV is very expensive and the resources have been dwindling globally.
She urged the Kisii county government to continue partnering with NSDCC and other stakeholders supporting the mandate of eliminating HIV/AIDS and allocate more resources towards the same.