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Stigmatization preventing residents from doing HIV tests

03 December 2015, 14:06 Joseph Njung'eh

Nairobi - The resurgence of stigma towards people living with HIV/AIDs has been singled out as the reason why up to 73 percent of Nyeri County residents have never been tested for the virus.

Acting County Health Services Director, Nelson Muriu said that despite introducing an intensive door-to-door community health program to identify health issues, only a few residents sought to know their HIV status.

"Nyeri County has a prevalence rate of 4.3 percent amongst adults and up to 20 000 residents are living with the virus but fear of stigma is keeping many young people from seeking treatment,” Muriu noted.

Read Also: Doctor guilty of infecting patients with HIV

He further lamented the existence of Mother-to-Child HIV transmission cases in the county and yet women have full access to health facilities.

According to data from National Aids Control Council (NACC), 66 percent of pregnant women living with HIV in Nyeri did not deliver their children in health facilities.

“In 2013, there were 982 pregnant women living with HIV in Nyeri County. However, only 44 percent of them attended the recommended four antenatal clinics,” the report indicated.

The report also notes that there are an estimated 42 new HIV infections among children under the age of 14 in the County annually. Muriu said that it was possible to reduce the prevalence rate through early interventions and sensitizing members of public against stigma.

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