HIV and AIDs in Kenya
HIV and AIDs in Kenya

HIV and AIDS in Kenya

The categorization of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Kenya. As generalized reflects its impact across all sectors of the population. However, we should note that HIV prevalence varies based on location, gender, and age.

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Those in heterosexual relationships accounted for nearly half of all new infections transmitted in 2008. And 20 per cent during casual heterosexual SEX. Various studies have revealed a high HIV prevalence amongst a number of key affected groups. Including sex Workers, injecting drug users (IDUs), men who have sex with men, truck drivers and cross border mobile populations.

Some of these groups experience marginalization within society. For instance, homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and punishable by up to 14 years in prison. This makes it difficult for the groups to reach HIV and AIDs in Kenya prevention, treatment and care. The extent to which these groups are affected by HIV has not been fully explored.

In 2008, an estimated 3.8 per cent of new HIV infections were among IDUs. And in the capital, Nairobi, 5.8 per cent of new infections were among IDUs. Healthcare settings can easily prevent HIV infections.

However, 2.5 per cent of new HIV infections in 2008 occurred in health facilities. Women are disproportionally affected by HIV. In 2008/9, HIV prevalence among women was twice as high as that for men at eight per cent. And 4.3 per cent, respectively.

This disparity is even greater in young women in the 15 to 24 age bracket. Who are four times more likely to become infected with HIV than men of the same age.

High rates of violent sexual contact are experienced by Kenyan women, and this is believed to contribute to the higher prevalence of HIV. In a 2003 nationwide survey, almost half of the women reported having experienced violence and a quarter of women aged between 12 and 24 had lost their virginity by force.

Adult HIV and Aids prevalence is greater in urban areas at 8.4 per cent than rural areas at 6.7 per cent. However, the estimation indicates that one million adults living with HIV are present in rural settings, while urban settings accommodate 400,000 individuals, reflecting the fact that approximately 75 percent of the Kenyan population resides in rural areas.

Kenya is in a transitional period, with a government seeking to restructure many elements of the state. This context offers clear opportunities, but also many constraints for controlling HIV/AIDS. Human capacity development is a major concern and all partners are working to improve capabilities and human resource management systems to enable people to respond effectively to HIV/AIDS.

Kenya has a large number of qualified, unemployed health care workers. The key to success will be developing effective mechanisms to engage these trained staff. In addition, efforts to employ auxiliary staff, such as adherence counselors and outreach workers, are a high priority.

Treatment literacy is very low, which contributes to the high levels of stigma among health workers and the general population. Furthermore, for those who are receiving ART, systematic monitoring and evaluation is lacking.



Patients living with HIV/AIDS have low immune system, often times patients think their ARV drugs are enough to protect them and some patients stop taking drugs when they feel healthy, some do not keep to medical appointments and only visit the hospital when they are critically ill. Some take herbal treatment along side with ARV drugs, good hygiene practice remains a thing of concern among people living with HIV/AIDS in Senegal.


Poor state of the economy, neglect and lack of support from family members and the community, lack of appetite due to state of health and even drug reactions all contribute to the high occurrence of malnutrition in people living with HIV.


ARV drugs are known to cause side effects, including lack of appetite, diarrhea, cough, hormonal problems, lactic acid imbalance in the body system, weight loss, vomiting, nausea, and liver problems.


Stigmatization arises from fear, ignorance and socio-cultural factors. Up till date the societies, culture and religions have not learnt to accept people living with HIV and show love care and support to them, we have immigration laws and policies restraining the movement of people living with HIV/AIDS.


The economic situation in Senegal does not adequately support people living with HIV, despite the provision of free ARV medication. They are not provided with free medical assistance or treatment for co-infections, except in the case of TB. The employment sector openly oppresses people living with HIV/AIDS.

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Sabina Kamene