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Narok: Alarm raised over increase in cases of HIV/AIDS

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Cases of HIV/AIDS among young people have increased in Narok County in the recent days, a matter that left stakeholders to ponder deeply over the worrying trend.

Narok County Aids Coordinator, Ms. Jane Cheptarus, says that the rate of HIV/ AIDS recurrence in the County reduced from 7.4 percent in 2012 to 5 percent 2018.

Mass awareness
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Ms. Cheptarus says that there is need to create massive awareness on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the county and by extension, the country.

“This is a cause to worry and we need to formulate a strategy to reach these young people with messages on HIV/ AIDS,” she said adding that awareness is the best alternative.

Interestingly, cases of the epidemic among the older generation, from 45-60 years, was also increasing, an indication that the young are having unprotected sex with the older generation for economic reasons.

Ms. Cheptarus noted that older people are, in most circumstances, married thus easily spread the disease to their partners.

She says that the AIDS control department is working to make sure that all the infected people are put on the Anti-Retroviral drugs in the county.

“As a department, we are also working around the clock to ensure all the infected people are put on Anti-Retroviral drugs to help save their lives.”

Free testing and counselling

Going for the HIV/AIDS testing, she states, is important and urges residents to come forward for testing and if someone is positive, they will receive free counselling.

Residents were also requested to shun existing traditional myths about HIV/AIDS and further stop stigmatizing infected people.

For those living with the disease, Cheptarus advises them to live positively and observe good health habit including maintaining a balanced diet, exercising and having protected sex.

Protected intercourse reduces chances of infections among people – infected and non-infected.

Stigmatization

The major challenge in winning the war against HIV/AIDS, according to health experts, is stigma and jeopardizing people with the medical condition.

Stigma, on the extreme end, lead patients to withdraw from taking the ARVs medication for fear of being seen around health facilities, taking the drugs.

National data

According to figures released last year, during the World AIDS Day by National Aids Control Council (NACC), there were 24,187 new infections in the country.

Additionally, 4,234 deaths due to HIV-related complications were recorded in 2016.

NACC also discovered that there that there are 238,987 young people between the age of 15-24years living with HIV.

By Joseph Macharia

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