The Ministry of Health through the National AIDS and STIs Control Programme (NASCOP) has launched a campaign dubbed ‘Anza Sasa’ campaign to encourage those who test HIV positive to get ARV treatment regardless of their CD4 count. In the past only those with a CD4 count of 500 and below were eligible for treatment.
New guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection in Kenya 2016 were launched to provide guidance on their use when it comes to treating people living with HIV. Kenya currently has 1.5 million people living with HIV and an estimated 900 000 have been receiving treatment.
“The ministry of health is committed towards the implementation of the recommendations provided in the guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing towards reducing new HIV infections and reaching HIV epidemic control,” said Mr. Nicholas Muraguri, who is the health Principal Secretary.
Another shift is that the use of antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV transmission will particularly be emphasized through mother to child transmission of HIV programme where all pregnant women who are identified to be HIV positive will start taking antiretroviral drugs immediately upon diagnosis in order to reduce transmission of HIV to the unborn babies.
“The aim of providing antiretroviral treatment to all people living with HIV is two pronged; first it will enable the person who is on antiretroviral therapy to reduce the level of the virus circulating within their level to undetectable level and such reduce further damage to their immune system and improve the body’s ability to fight off infections averting unnecessary illness disabilities and even deaths related to HIV” said Dr Sirengo.
Sex workers, gays and drug addicts are the most likely to contract HIV. Male circumcision and use of condoms are encouraged as a preventive measure to keep one from getting infected. So far 1.2 million males have been circumcised, given that circumcision minimizes chances of contracting the disease according to research. The Health ministry is working closely with counties to ensure they are able to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, services will be offered free of charge at all public health facilities in the country.