The national HIV/AIDS program funded by the World Bank to the tune of US$ 135 million (Kshs.120.05billion) projected to run until June, 2013 is expected to greatly reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) in Kenya.
Prof. Alloys Orago, the National Aids Control Council (N.A.C.C) Director said the project is already being implemented in Kisumu East, Bondo and Homabay districts which have recorded very high HIV/AIDS prevalence.
“We are targeting these areas since they are the closest regions to the beaches where the prevalence rate of HIV infection is highest; standing at 26% compared to that of the entire Nyanza Province which is 13.9%”, he revealed.
Prof. Orago further stated that the program also seeks to increase primary and secondary abstinence, promote responsible decision making and alongside improved communication and negotiation skills.
He explained that the project is divided in three phases; Total War on HIV and AIDS (TOWA), Tuko Pamoja and Expanded Shuga with the objective of reducing incidences of HIV, STIs and unplanned pregnancies among the youth aged 15-24 years.
Speaking in Kisumu, Prof. Orago said the program also seeks to minimize risky behaviors that facilitate HIV/STI infections and pregnancy among the youth in the Nyanza region, increase uptake of HIV counseling and testing by at least 30% and Medical Male Circumcision by at least 15%.
He attributed the high prevalence of HIV to the region’s high levels of poverty, presence of slums and commercial sex workers operating in the areas.
Most of the small scale projects initiated by the civil society have met 70% of their objectives and thus reduced the numbers of those infected from 118,000 previously to 62,000, he disclosed, attributing the tremendous decline to increased use of condoms by couples.
However, Prof. Orago regretted that most of the projects sponsored by foreign partners including the World Bank will end next year due to donors fall out.
“Most of these programs will soon end, meaning that the 540,000 people on ARV treatment will be greatly affected. This is why we are calling upon stakeholders to mobilize resources locally to bridge the gap”, he reiterated.
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