29 May 2018

Kenya: 51% of HIV Infections Affect 15-24 Year Olds

Nairobi — Young people are increasingly those most affected by HIV with 51pc of all adult new infections occurring among those aged 15-24, and 29pc among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW).

Although Kenya has made tremendous progress in the fight against HIV, the dynamics of new infection rates demonstrates a change in the pattern.

"Adolescents and young people account for 35,000 of new infections, translating to 97 new infections daily," said National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) Director General, Josephine Kibaru.

A report by NCPD noted a high burden in teenage pregnancy with the national prevalence standing at 18 per cent.

Kibaru emphasised the need to highlight the core issues affecting the AGYW.

"Some 378,397 adolescent girls (10-19 years) presented with pregnancy in health facilities across 47 counties between July 2016 and June 2017."

"Twenty eight thousand, nine hundred and thirty two cases (10-14 year olds) while 349,465 cases (15-19 year olds)," the report indicated.

Narok, Homabay, West Pokot, Tana River, Nyamira are among counties with high numbers of teenage pregnancies.

The NCPD report indicated the counties accounted for 40pc, 33pc, 29pc 28pc respectively.

Kibaru noted that the burden of teenage pregnancy can be annihilated through provision of information to adolescents as well as strengthen advocacy on the prevention of sexual violence.

Among the drivers to teenage pregnancy and other challenges facing adolescents include early sexual debut, poverty, sexual abuse and violence, drug and substance abuse.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Education said it will formulate guidelines and manuals to address the HIV/Aids pandemic in the country.

"Among the things that the guidelines will provide include provision of information to adolescents in all learning institutions, as well as strengthen advocacy on the prevention of sexual violence," stated the Director of policy in the Ministry Emis Njeru.

According to UNAIDS, HIV and AIDS is the second highest cause of death among adolescents globally.

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