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Concern as new HIV infections rise among the youth 

Busia County Director for health, Janerose Ambuchi has expressed concern at the increased HIV infection among teenagers in the County.

Speaking during a forum to mark the World AIDS Day at Buburi Primary school in Samia Sub County, Ambuchi noted that the trend is very disturbing, adding that if not checked, the entire generation can be swept away.

“It is very sad to note that around 43% of youth aged between 10-19 are being infected by the virus,’ she said adding that the number is very alarming.

She added that the County government wants to begin sensitising the youth to know that there are ways of preventing the scourge.

“We want to urge them to use condoms if they cannot abstain from having sex,” she said adding that the County government has distributed condoms at the health facilities and learning institutions,

The Director at the same time advised youth to seek advice from the elderly and know that it is not a must to engage in sex as a teenager.

“We also want to condemn perpetrators of defilement since they also contribute to the spread of HIV”, said Ambuchi.

Busia County Coordinator for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections, Constance Were said that the County was not doing well in terms of viral suppression, especially among children and adolescents.

“We are also not doing well in terms of mother-to-child HIV transmission,” she said, adding that Samia Sub County is the most affected.

Were explained that a number of expectant mothers who have been diagnosed with HIV simply refuse to adhere to taking drugs.

“Some of them refuse to take drugs due to family issues while others fail to do so due to fear to disclose their status to their spouses,” she explained.

She explained to the residents that strict adherence to ARVs for six consecutive months can suppress the viral load so that victims can lead normal lives.

“We are supposed to end HIV/AIDS in 2027, and if people still refuse to take drugs, then it will be very difficult to achieve our target,” she said, adding that those who do not know their status should come out for testing in order to stop further infections.

Busia County CECM Member for Public Service Management Pamella Awori said that there is need for concerted efforts in the fight against the scourge.

Simon Ongodi who has lived with the virus since 1989, told the residents that HIV is not a death sentence but can be managed through drug adherence.

Ongodi advised men to refrain from believing the myth that engaging in sex with young children can treat HIV.

Esther Wesonga, another HIV survivor urged men to go for HIV testing instead of assuming that once their spouses turn negative, they are also safe.

By Salome Alwanda and Victoria Magar

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