#Kenya: Fear, Stigma and Graft Mar HIV Response

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Today is World Aids Day. The
worldwide focus on Ebola has
placed Aids on the back burner,
and yet Kenya has the world’s
fourth highest Aids epidemic, with
1.6 million people living with HIV
in this country

Huge steps have been made in the
measures aimed at a national HIV
response in Kenya over the past
decade, but much remains to be
done. Among the success stories is
that of antiretroviral treatment
(ART); between 2003-2013, it grew
from 6,000 Kenyans to more than
600,000.

Among the horror stories are the
corruption and bad governance
factors that have seen a number of
major donors delay, or refrain from,
investing in desperately needed
mass treatment, care and support
programmes.

The number of Kenyans who still do
not know their HIV status has
been described by AVERT, an
international HIV and Aids charity
based in the UK that has
worldwide outreach, as
“unacceptable”.

The cost factor is also daunting.
AVERT reckons that, “The cost of
the HIV response in Kenya is
expected to increase by 114 per
cent between 2010 and 2020 . . . a
funding gap of $1.75 billion”.
Stigma and discrimination, even
among families and health workers,
make too many Kenyans living with
HIV suffer in secrecy and go to an
early grave.

Kenyans have a great deal of work
ahead of them in combating Aids
on multiple fronts.
Quote of the day: “I have never yet
met a healthy person who worried
very much about his health, or a
really good person who worried
much about his own soul.” —
Scottish scientist John BS Haldane
died on December 1, 1964

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