IT is now emerging that the majority of young people and adolescents aged between 10 and 24 contribute to thousands of new cases of HIV infections in the country.
The National Aids Control Council (NACC) is concerned that lack of awareness amongst the youth might spell doom for the country if the current trend continues. “ Adolescents especially young women are recording high new HIV infections.
We cannot bury our heads as women leaders and watch. It’s time we confronted socio-economic and cultural factors fueling new infections among this cohort,” NACC Chair Angelina Siparo said.
NACC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Nduku Kilonzo noted that of the new infections, about 21 percent of those were in people aged between 15 to 24 years.
Of all the infections among adults, people above 15 years, 51 percent occurred in the age group of 15-24. This according to the chief executive translates to 97 new infections every single day.
“ What we see in the areas that we considered very low prevalence, is where we see increases of more than 50 percent in numbers of new infections when you compare the data from previous years, ”he added.
The agency says as a nation, Kenya needs to intensify HIV prevention efforts to meet commitments to end the AIDS epidemic. Dr Kilonzo urged religious leaders to include HIV information in their liturgical sermons in respective worship centers.
Latest data at the National Aids Control Council indicates that Kenya recorded 18,000 new HIV infections among people in the adolescent age of 10-24 in 2018. This, the agency adds, is a result of the tendency by the majority of the youth to shun debate on the deadly virus.
On their part, the young people were congregating here for a three-day youth conference lamented limited access to youth-friendly services terming this an impediment to reproductive health education.
The NACC says is important for young people to receive early sex education if the country is to reduce the risk of HIV , other STIs, and pregnancy. These revelations were made during a youth conference on HIV .
The adolescents and youth advocacy consultative forum brought together youth from the 47 counties in organized youth groups working in various sectors
The ministry of health has in the meantime disclosed that AIDS-related deaths in the Country have dropped by 52 percent against a target of 25 percent by 2020.
According to the ministry the annual new infections have dropped by over 50 percent from 101,000 in 2013 to 46,000 in 2018.