Kenya Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (KENPHIA) Survey kicked off in Busia on Monday with fears that the County’s HIV Prevalence rate is on the rise.
Speaking during the launch at Busia Polytechnics, Dr Ignatius Ochieng from the Ministry of Health in Nairobi Dr Ochieng said the estimates released in May 2018 shows that Busia County has an HIV Prevalence of 7.7 per cent compared to Kenya AIDS Indicator Surveys (KAIS) of 6.4% in 2012.
“This is higher than the Country’s estimates of 4.8% and the KAIS of 5.6% recorded in 2012,”Dr Ochieng said, noting that the neighbouring Bungoma County with recent estimates of 3.3 against the KAIS of 2.8, was an indication that it might surpass Busia County,” he said.
He said unlike the previous one where the survey included only HIV, this survey will encompass Hepatitis B and Syphilis, adding that confidentiality will be the cardinal rule where Global Position System (GPS) will be used randomly to pick households during the ten-day exercise.
Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi who flagged off the vehicles to start the community-based survey exercise said the highest number of youth who get infection should not be taken for granted.
“It’s quite alarming that children who are less than 15 years of age are suffering from hypertension and diabetes due to lifestyles,” adding that early detection is paramount.
He said breast, cervical and prostate cancer are killing our people both physically and economically, thus the need to find ways and means of taming the vice.
The DG who is also the acting Health Executive, blamed the high prevalence rate on the youth who have resorted to morning after pills which apart from increasing the prevalence rate has affected their reproductive health.
Director of Medical Services Dr Janerose Ambuchi said the fact that Busia and Siaya topped in adolescent pregnancy with 42 per cent as per 2017 report is directly proportional to the HIV prevalence.
Director of Public Health Dr Melsa Lutomia said Busia is topping in the country in terms of HIV diagnosis and those who have been put on treatment with over 90 per cent and only trailing in virus suppression at 87%.
Finance Executive Phaustine Barasa said HIV prevalence has been brought about by false notion from the youth who think the scourge is for the old generation with the elders also claiming that their wives conduct Aids only at night and not day time.
Roads Executive Okwara Ekiarapa said it’s startling to hear that 30 per cent of new infections are youth aged 35 years and below.