19 January 2016

Kenya: Kisii and Nyamira Counties Have Highest HIV Awareness Rates - KDHS Report

Kisii and Nyamira counties have the highest HIV awareness rates in the country, at 99.9 per cent and 100 per cent, respectively, according to the new Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS).

In Kisii, at least 99.8 per cent of the women are aware of HIV, compared to 99.7 per cent in Nyamira.

"In Kenya, knowledge of Aids is virtually universal -- above 99 per cent among women and men. There was no noticeable variation in awareness by respondents' background characteristics. This is consistent with the 2008-09 KDHS survey," says the report released last week.

The report further reveals that more women than men are getting tested for HIV in Kenya.

The survey, however, paints a disturbing picture of Kenyan men who are generally less inclined to go for HIV tests than their female counterparts.

This comes despite the welcome news of HIV prevalence stabilising in the country at around 6 per cent, according to the report.

"The future course of Kenya's AIDS epidemic depends on a number of factors including levels of HIV- and Aids-related knowledge among the general population, stigma associated with being HIV positive, risk-behaviour modification, access to quality health care services for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and provision and uptake of HIV counselling and testing," the report states.

However, awareness among women was found to be slightly lower in Wajir (92 per cent), Mandera, and West Pokot (both 95 per cent) but there are no apparent county-level differences among men.

COMPREHENSIVE HIV KNOWLEDGE

However, only 56 per cent of women and 66 per cent of men have comprehensive knowledge about HIV and Aids prevention and transmission in Kenya.

This means that they know that both condom use and limiting sexual intercourse to one uninfected partner can prevent HIV.

The report also reveals that the same percentage of men and women are aware that a healthy-looking person can have HIV, and that they reject the two most common local misconceptions about HIV.

These misconceptions are that HIV can be transmitted by mosquitoes and by sharing food.

The report further states that 72 per cent of women and 62 per cent of men know both that HIV can be transmitted through breastfeeding and that the risk of mother-to-child transmission can be reduced by taking special drugs during pregnancy.

Men were also found to be more inclined to use condoms than women.

The 2014 KDHS report also reveals that among those who had more than one sexual partner in the past 12 months, 40 per cent of women and 44 per cent of men reported using a condom during their last sexual intercourse.

57 per cent of young women and 64 per cent of young men from the ages of 15 to 24 years have comprehensive knowledge about HIV.

Kenya

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