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Kenya’s AIDS Indicator Survey Shows Country Making Progress In Prevention, Treatment

“Kenya is making great strides in tackling HIV/AIDS, with a fall in the HIV-positive population and a surge in the number of people getting tested and receiving treatment, according to a government survey released on Tuesday,” Thomson Reuters Foundation reports. “[T]he number of Kenyans living with the disease fell from 1.4 million to 1.2 million between 2007 and 2012, the 2012 Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey revealed on Tuesday,” the news service notes, adding, “The prevalence of HIV among adults dropped from 7.2 to 5.6 percent in the same period.” According to the survey, “[t]he percentage of adults who have taken an HIV test more than doubled from 34 percent to 72 percent between 2007 and 2012,” and “[t]wo-thirds of those tested have been tested more than once,” the news agency writes. “As a result, almost half of HIV-positive Kenyans are aware that they have the disease — up from 16 percent in 2007 to 47 percent in 2012,” Reuters notes, adding, “Almost nine out of 10 HIV-positive people who know their status and are eligible for [antiretroviral therapy (ART)] are receiving treatment” (Migiro, 9/10).

The survey also showed that “[a]lmost 60 percent of Kenya’s 104,000 HIV-positive children are not receiving life-prolonging [ART] because their parents do not know they are infected,” a second Thomson Reuters Foundation article reports. Since “[t]he government introduced free maternity services in public facilities on June 1 … there has been a rapid increase in the number of women delivering in hospital, a rise of between 10 and 50 percent across the country,” the news agency writes, noting that nearly “all the pregnant women who visit antenatal clinics, rising from 65 to 92 percent of the total between 2007 and 2012, are tested for HIV.” Kevin De Cock, director of the CDC Center for Global Health, said, “It emphasizes again the importance of mother-to-child transmission services and of the scale-up and the importance of early infant diagnosis — making sure that children born to mothers with HIV have access to testing and then to treatment very early in life,” according to Reuters (Migiro, 9/10).