HIV in Kenya

Like elsewhere on the African continent, HIV in Kenya is a major problem. But there’s good news: in Zimbabwe, Uganda and Kenya the trend has reversed. The number of HIV infected people is declining and fewer people die of AIDS.

According to research, the number of people infected with HIV in Kenya has dropped from 6.1% in 2004 to 5.9% in 2005 and 5.1% in 2006. It’s estimated that the number of new HIV infections in Kenya has decreased in 10 years from about 200,000 a year to now under 90,000 a year.

Causes of the Decline

Admittedly, the decline in HIV infections is partly due to many AIDS patients dying of the disease. Every 3 our of 4 Kenyans know somebody who got sick or has died of AIDS by now. But the other part seems to be the big efforts undertaking by Kenya in cooperation with Western donors to combat the disease. The United States have pumped $208 million dollars in 2006 alone into fighting HIV and AIDS in Kenya – more than all other donors combined.

Kenyan officials say it’s still whether abstinence or use of condoms has played the bigger role. Lately, abstinence and being faithful have been stressed more in campaigns, also because the Republicans in the American Congress have ruled that one third of American funds must be donated to promoting abstinence, instead of using condoms. And observers have noted an upcoming trend in Kenyan culture towards fewer sex partners and more fidelity.

Spreading of AIDS & HIV in Kenya

Besides other factors – children being born to infected parents, intercourse and blood transfusion – the tradition in western Kenya of inheritance has also played a role. If a married man dies, a family member of his will take his wife into his own family, typically as a second wife. This way she’s taken care of. Tradition said the man could not have sex with his inherited wife. But the inheritors began to neglect that tradition. With many men dying of AIDS, after infecting their wifes, the wifes now pass the HIV virus further through the inheritors.

Where To Get Condoms In Kenya

In Kenya, condoms are available from supermarkets, pharmacies and family planning clinics, who are all available in most bigger towns. They are also dispensed for free in hotels, as part of AIDS awareness campaigns.

Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Next to AIDS and HIV, Hepatitis B is also quite widespread in Kenya. It’s rarely fatal, but you can get a chronic liver disease from it. Syphilis is present too, but infection rates seem to be declining since 1995 as well.

Related Pages:

Kenya Health Advice
Kenya Health Dangers and Diseases Listed

Kenya Travel - Practicalities

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