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About 30% of cancers in Kenya caused by HIV

04 February 2014, 19:37

Nairobi - About 30 percent of all cancers cases in Kenya are caused by HIV, the country Aids control body said on Tuesday.

National Aids Control Council Deputy Director Sobbie Mulindi said that the government is now scaling up interventions to reduce sexually transmitted diseases.

"Cervical cancer, penile cancer and other forms of cancer are related to HIV infections," Mulindi said on the sidelines of a ceremony where Kenyan corporations signed declarations against cancer.

He said that medical male circumcision reduces HIV transmissions and in turn the onset of some forms of cancer. He added that Kenya is currently facing double burden of HIV and cancer.

Mulindi said that the Human Papillomavirus, which is sexually transmitted, causes cervical cancer. According to the deputy director, other forms of cancer are associated with the use of Anti-retroviral drugs.

"These drugs are very toxic and could cause negative side effects to the body," he said.

NACC said that the government has taken measures to allocate more resources to combat both cancers and HIV in the current financial year but a lot more needs to be done.

Data from the ministry of health indicates that approximately 22,000 Kenyans lost their lives to cancer in 2013 while another 28, 000 were diagnosed.

Kenya Medical Association Vice chairperson Dr. Elizabeth Wala said medical research shows that early detection is crucial because the survival rate is much higher and the cost is lower.

Wala said that people must therefore advocate for more resources to be allocated for awareness, research, treatment and palliative care. She added that Kenya also faces a challenge of inadequate health personnel specialized in cancer treatment.

"Unfortunately, there are many people in our country who cannot afford to go for regular checkups such as mammograms and pap smears,"she said.

- Xinhua


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