The Star (Nairobi)

10 May 2012

Kenya: The Cut for Boys to Tame HIV

THE Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation will soon introduce circumcision programme for children under the age of 15 to help curb HIV/Aids in the country. Homa Bay branch DASCOP coordinator Alice Nyambai said they hope to introduce the program to children under 15 years, as a way of supplementing the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) exercise.

Nyambai said that the programme will help in the reduction of HIV/AIDS infections as more males get circumcised in the region despite being more affordable as compared to the VMMC.

She added that the children circumcision programme will cost the government Sh1, 000 for each circumcised child, while the VMMC costs Sh5, 000. "We are hopeful that the children's circumcision program is likely to be more successful as more grownups are reluctant to enroll for the VMMC that targets males of age bracket 25 to 49 years," said Nyambai.

She said that the since September 2008 when the program was initiated, only 11, 000 men have been circumcised out of the estimated 42, 000 in Homabay district.

At the same time Nyambai called upon the government to ensure a constant supply of HIV/AIDS testing kits in the district saying that the supplied kits are never enough due to the increased number of volunteers in the testing centers.

She added that with the vigorous campaigns and sensitization exercises going on in the district, many people have come out for the testing, a majority of them being women, leading to a 50 percent increase in the number of testings.

She also urged that the government include other consumables such as swaps, spirits, glove and Jik along with the testing Kits for eased sanitation which are a major challenge.

Among other challenges facing the DASCOP is also lack of a long elaizer machine which helps in determining discrepancy testing in the stage one and two results of HIV/AIDS, which is lacking in the district and can only be found in Kisumu and Nairobi at the National Reference lab.

According to the 2010 survey by Kenya Aids Indicators, Homabay County still holds the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate with Suba district at the highest percentage of 26 percent while Homabay district at 17 percent.

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