20 February 2013

Kenya: HIV Infections On the Rise in North Eastern

Speaking during a workshop today, Dr. Mohamed Abdi Sheikh, Northeastern Provincial Director of public health said the disease was rising at an alarming rate stating that the rate of infections had risen from 1.2 percent to 1.8 percent in the last two years.

He attributed the increase to numerous challenges ranging from stigma, retrogressive cultural practices and people living in denial.

"Our people are still living in denial, they would rather live with the disease in secret and continue suffering than come out openly to seek help, this is due to the stigma they will face from the community," said Dr. Mohamed.

Addressing stakeholders drawn from the Garissa, wajir and Mandera counties, Dr Mohamed added that there are few health workers in the region to assist in fighting the disease.

Northeastern HIV and AIDS control council Co-ordinator Omar Mwanjama challenged the locals to be on forefront in fighting the disease saying that everybody was infected or affected by it.

He said it was important to find local sustainable financing for HIV and AIDS instead of relying on donor funding.

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