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HIV infection high among the married

19 June 2013, 14:37 Samuel Kisika

Concerns have been raised over the growing number of HIV/AIDs infections among married couples due to unprotected sex.

Addressing a group of workers from the Ministry of East Africa Community (MEAC) during an HIV and AIDs Sensitization workshop, Lawrence Banu, an Officer in the National AIDS Control Council (NACC), said that the rise is due to fear and shame by married couples to use condoms in their extramarital affairs.

"Kenya's HIV/AIDs infected population stands at 1.45 million, recording 98 000 new adult infections annually out of which 76% comprises married couples," said Banu.

Banu said that the rising rate has to be intensively addressed in workplaces through the establishment of informative AIDs Control Units to protect staff from exposure to HIV risks.

He added that HIV/AIDs infection among workers results to inability to work, stigma and discrimination, self-rejection and denial, and disruption of future plans due to hopelessness.

From the last HIV/AIDs research prevalence conducted four years ago, Banu said that HIV infection rate is still high standing at 8.0% among women and 4.3% among men in Kenya.

Regionally, Banu noted, Nyanza Province has the highest HIV infections at 13.9% representing 417 000 people to due to wife inheritance, refusal to undergo circumcision and practicing sex for survival among women. Nairobi province comes second with 7.0%, Western 6.6%, Rift Valley 4.7%, Coast 4.2%, Eastern 3.5% and North Eastern 0.9%.

Banu further said that both the MEAC and NACC have developed a shared commitment to build high level of support for HIV/AIDs mainstreaming to protect workers from contracting the virus.

He condemned the government and donors for minimal funding to fight the rising HIV/AIDs, and blamed the public servants for not adhering to healthy living.

"Many public servants take the HIV issue as a performance contract forgetting that their health is more important and they should openly disclose their health status to relevant health officers for proper care," said Banu.

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