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Elgeyo Marakwet County makes strides in fight against HIV/AIDS

Measures put in place by health personnel in Elgeyo Marakwet County to ensure that people living with HIV take their drugs as required have borne fruit, with 90% having their viral load suppressed.

This, CECM Health Michael Kibiwott said, has seen the risk of spreading the HIV virus reduced significantly.

Speaking during celebrations to mark World’s Aids Day at Tambach in Keiyo North sub-county, the CECM said the county’s HIV prevalence rate stood at 2%, noting that slightly above 6,000 people were living with the HIV virus.

He, however, expressed concern that out of the 6,000 people, 4,000 were on treatment, with 2,000 yet to be put on treatment.

“As a department, we are working hard to ensure we reach out to these people who are yet to be tested so that they can start treatment. We are therefore calling on all of us to ensure we know our status so that those who are positive can start their treatment,” he said.

Kibiwott added that they were also improving the treatment of children living with the virus, which has been a challenge.

The CECM, however, said there was still a challenge among the 15–24 year olds, saying they formed the majority of new infections, attributing this to poverty and a lack of information.

He said girls were starting to engage in unprotected sex at an early age, saying 25% of women attending antenatal clinics in the county were under the age of 18.

Grace Kwambai, who works as a mentor mother to women who have given birth to HIV-positive children, said she has managed to work with several mothers and, through ensuring that they follow the medical advice to the letter, has seen most children turn negative.

“I ensure that the women give their children the drugs as instructed, feed their children properly, and attend clinics as required. I also ensure the mothers join support groups so that they can support each other,” she said.

By Alice Wanjiru

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