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Badi: Women face greater risk of contracting AIDS

Youth aged between 15 and 24 bears the greatest brunt of new HIV infections in Nairobi, the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) has said.

The age group contributes an estimated 40 percent of new infections registered in the capital city with more burden felt among adolescent girls and young women.

NMS Director General Lieutenant General Mohamed Badi said Nairobi has the largest HIV epidemic in the country with an estimated 167,446 people living with the virus in the country.

The city is also seventh in terms of prevalence of the virus in the country with a 5.2 percent prevalence among adults aged between 15 and 59 years.

The HIV prevalence among female adults falling in the same bracket was higher than the prevalence of male at 6.8 percent and 3.3 percent respectively.

“The mother to child transmission rate for Nairobi is 10.1 percent as per 2020 HIV estimates,” said Mr Badi, in his speech during marking of World AIDS Day.

He explained that structural gaps that obstruct proven solutions to HIV prevention and treatment continue to hamper the realization of an HIV-free Kenya target of 2030.

“Forty years since the first AIDS cases were reported, HIV still threatens the world. Today, Kenya is off track from delivering on the shared commitment to end AIDS by 2030,” he said.

“We are developing political, economic and social policies to protect the rights of everyone and pay attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalised communities,” he said.

Badi added that as well as being central to ending AIDS, tackling inequalities will advance the human rights of key populations, people living with HIV.

He stated that fulfilling the promise to tackle inequalities will save millions of lives, reduce teenage pregnancies due to sexual and gender-based violence, and will benefit society as a whole.

In Nairobi for instance, he said that about 4,932 adolescents’ pregnancies occurred between ages 10 and 14 years from January 2020 to September 2021, with the group forming 13 percent of clients who attended the first antenatal clinic during that period under review.

At the same time, NMS launched the Nairobi City County HIV and AIDS Implementation Plan, a blueprint they are banking on to address the challenges of inequalities and protect the rights towards elimination of HIV and AIDS by 2030.

Last month, Nairobi was awarded by the Fast Track Cities Institute jointly with UNAIDS for exemplary performance in HIV/AIDS care especially in the areas of providing access to testing, enrolling those tested on treatment and ensuring full vital suppression for those on treatment.