As the world commemorated the World AIDS day on 1st December, residents of Bungoma County have been called upon to freely interact with members of the society who are infected with the disease so as to reduce stigma.
In his address during the Bungoma County celebration at Amtalla stadium in Kimilili, Bungoma County health CEC Stephen Kokonya said stigma has always been an issue with the victims saying many of them who are secluded by the society end up losing hope in life and in the end may lose their lives early.
He disclosed that statistics indicate that AIDs prevalence rate in Bungoma County is at 2% as compared to the whole country which stands at 6% and called upon residents to be careful and observe the various ways of keeping them safe from contracting the disease.
“Currently 44% of men in this County do not know their status as compared to 23% of women, therefore they need to visit the health facilities and know their status as it is a free exercise and residents need to know their status so as to be able to know how to carry on with their daily life,” he added.
His sentiments were echoed by Bungoma County health director Dr. Sylvester Mutoro who said a large population of youths and men have not visited health facilities to know their health status saying they need to so as to plan for their lives well.
He disclosed that since last year at such a time, the County has lost over six hundred people to the disease saying it is unfortunate that the county lost such a large number of productive people, adding the situation could be averted if the stigma had been dealt with.
Dr. Mutoro added that together with other health partners they will work hard to ensure that the victims are well taken care of and to also ensure the preventive measures and put in use to secure the health status of the unaffected.
He added that men should not wait for their wives who always visit the clinics to know their status and later on pretend to be healthy and fine.
Some of the victims who attended the commemoration called upon the government to provide enough drugs as well as counselling sessions for them saying some have to travel for long distances to access drugs from their residential areas.