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Worrying trend as report indicates four adolescents are infected by HIV weekly

At least four new HIV infection cases among adolescents aged between 10 to 19 years are being reported weekly in Uasin Gishu County since the start of this year.

Statics released during sensitisation of community gatekeepers and opinion leaders on the elimination of new HIV infections, adolescent pregnancies, and sexual gender-based violence in Eldoret, also established that new HIV infections among adolescents in the county increased by 16% from 158 in 2015 to 184 this year.

Over the same period new HIV infections among young adults aged between 15 to 24 increased by 40 percent despite a reduction of 49% of Aids-related deaths among adolescents being reported in the county between 2015 and 2022.

Turbo and Kapseret sub-counties contributed to 50% of the adolescent new HIV infections in the county in 2022, the report indicates.

According to the acting county chief officer of health Dr Evans Kiprotich, the new HIV infection among adolescents is also directly related to the high number of adolescent pregnancies in the county.

The trend at which adolescent pregnancies are being reported in our clinics, which is correlated to the new HIV prevalence is worrying, said Dr Kiprotich, adding, “Last year 500 children, less than 14 years, who were not supposed to be pregnant, reported into our clinics with pregnancy, we are spoiling our children,” lamented the medic.

National Syndemic disease control council chief executive officer Dr Ruth Laibon Masha said they decided to initiate the Triple threat campaign, as a multi-sectoral approach toward ending new HIV infections, unintended pregnancies, and sexual and gender-based violence among adolescent girls and young women.

Dr Masha said it was unfortunate that adolescents bore the burden of the new HIV infections and those getting pregnant,

“It is time we get out of the ‘bystander syndrome’ and talk to our children, and it is the responsibility of every parent in the community to be responsible for our children”.

It doesn’t make sense to put one patient on ARVs when three new cases are reported, that is why we need to continue to boldly speak about the dangers of Aids, Alcohol and drugs among our youth. History will charge us harshly as people who lost a generation if we continue to let our 10 to 14 year old children get pregnant and infected with HIV,” said the CEO.

National Syndromic Disease Control Council (NSDCC) in its reports shows that AIDS-related deaths reduced by 62% from 58,446 in 2013 to 22,373 in this year.

The reduction is attributed to the 72% increase in the number of people on antiretroviral treatment from 656,369 in 2013 to 1,128,796 in currently.

Nationally, the report shows new HIV infections reduced by 66% from 101,448 in 2013 to 34,540 in 2022, and HIV transmission from mother to child has also reduced from 13.9% in 2013 to 9.0% in 2022.

By Kiptanui Cherono

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