In a bid to end the stigma on people living with HIV in Tana River, a Community-Based Organization (CBO) has started an awareness campaign.
Kipini Integrated Community Enterprise (KICE) Programme Officer, Jamila Yusuf, said several people living with HIV are facing stigma from people around them thus it is a herculean task for them to seek medication.
“If infected persons will not be able to go for Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) due to stigma there will be a surge in infection rates,” said Jamila, in a dialogue that brought together journalists, editors, police and judicial officers at a Hola hotel, over the weekend.
She added that they will educate society on stigma and its effects on people living with HIV.
The government aims to end the Aids epidemic as a health threat by the year 2030.
According to the Kenya World Aids Day Progress Report 2013 – 2021, there was a reduction of 68.5 percent of new HIV infections between 2013 and 2021.
However, according to Tana River County AIDS STI Coordinator (CASCO), Daniel Kalume, in his presentation at the dialogue, revealed that a total of 15,456 HIV tests were conducted last year.
Out of which 149 turned positive with Tana North Sub-County leading with 77 while Tana Delta and Tana River followed suit with 51 and 21 respectively.
Kalume attributed the high infection rate in Tana North to cross border prostitution business between Madogo town and the neighboring Garissa towns, which are stone throws away.
“People should know their status regardless of the consequences. All our 56 health facilities are testing for HIV, said CASCO Kalume.
By Sadik Hassan