Nyanza leads in HIV prevalence
19 September 2013, 11:08
Nairobi - HIV/AIDs prevalence in Nyanza Province stands at 15.1 percent making it the region with the highest prevalence rate in the country, study shows.
Kenya Aids Indicator Survey 2012 released recently by the Health Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia, at a Nairobi Hotel revealed that HIV prevalence in Nyanza rose by 0.2 percent over the past five years. This is despite an increase in the number of circumcised males in the region.
A previous research done in 2007 estimated that the HIV prevalence rate in the region was 14.9 percent. This revelation faults scientific findings and popular belief that circumcision helps reduce HIV infections by a wider margin.
In another twist of fate, the study also found that the rate of HIV infections among uncircumcised males nationally is five times higher than their circumcised counterparts. It estimated about 17 percent of men living with the HIV virus are uncircumcised while only 3 percent of the victims are circumcised.
Scientific evidence indicates that male circumcision confers over 60 percent reduction in the risk of acquiring the HIV virus. It is on this backdrop that the Ministry of Health in 2008 introduced voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in Nyanza Province where the practice was considered a taboo.
(Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision tent in Nairobi. Photo: Samuel Kisika, News24 user)
The government terms the VMMC national campaign as a success after over 600 000 people, majority from the Nyanza region, have embraced the practice.
HIV prevalence rate in the country has largely dropped from 7.2 percent to 5.6 percent meaning there is a considerable decline in HIV infections by 1.2 percent margin.
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