Mon, 24 Jan 2022

NAKURU, Kenya, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Kenya joined the rest of the world in marking World Aids Day on Wednesday as the number of new infections declined by 68.4 percent between 2013 and 2021.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who led the nation in marking the event in Nakuru County, about 200 km northwest of the capital city Nairobi, said Kenya had made tremendous progress in slowing down the spread of HIV/AIDS in recent years.

Kenyatta said that deaths attributed to HIV/AIDS had dipped by 67 percent to 19,486 this year from 58,446 people in 2013.

"What is more of our concern is that HIV disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable members of our society - the poor, marginalized, children, women, adolescents, and young adults," he said during the celebrations in Nakuru County.

Kenyatta attributed the positive indicators to the growing government investment in the diagnosis, prevention, and management of HIV/AIDS and related illnesses.

"This encouraging performance is attributed to the increase in the number of people on life-saving antiretroviral treatment which rose by 83 percent, from 656,369 in 2013 to 1.19 million in 2021," he said.

The president said Kenya was among the leading African countries in the access to antiretroviral therapy and commended Kenyans for voluntarily participating in activities aimed at slowing down the spread of HIV.

He decried the rising cases of teenage pregnancies in the country, saying the sad state of affairs undermines the country's transformation agenda and progress made to end HIV as a public health threat.

"The epidemic continues to present strongly in the 15 to 49 age demographic, who form the most productive demographic of our society. Therefore, we must sustain the gains, accelerate progress, and bridge all the gaps that stand in the way of eradicating this pandemic," he said.

The Kenyan leader said his government will continue doing everything possible to defeat the disease and directed the ministries of health and national treasury to ensure that the country is adequately stocked with HIV management and prevention commodities.

Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said the various government interventions had contributed to the decrease in HIV/AIDS infections in the country as reflected by the statistics.

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