RSS

Tag Archives: UNAIDS

Every Life Matters, Point Blank with Asian Weekly, 1st December 2017

World Aids Day 2017

 

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and is a lentivirus (a subgroup of retrovirus) that causes HIV infection and over time acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

 

 

This year on the World AIDS Day the theme is “Right to Health” and the World Health Organization is pushing the agenda “Everybody Counts”.

Some quick facts from WHO include:

There were 36.7 million people living with HIV at the end of 2016.

As of 2016, 20.9 million people are receiving antiretroviral treatment worldwide.

Seven out of ten pregnant women living with HIV received antiretroviral treatment.

The WHO African Region is the most affected region, with 25.6 million people living with HIV in 2016. The African region also accounts for almost two thirds of the global total of new HIV infections.

In Africa AIDS is the leading cause of death and its transmission is widely because of unprotected sex. Unfortunately there are just six countries in the world where half of the 15 to 19-year-olds are living with HIV and one of them is Kenya.

From childhood to adulthood it is such a vulnerable time that with the increasing social pressures, there is early entry to sex. Also there is the lurking danger of younger people having sexual relationships with the older generations.

Children are getting knowledge from their parents, extended family members, and schoolmates and unfortunately from their tablets and mobile phones. They are browsing through porn sites and watching illicit music videos that are arousing their hormonal activity. We are living in a conservative Kenyan culture in both Asian and African families. Do not be fooled by the picnic trips and school adventures that happen out of town that there is no sexual activity going on. It can even happen during wedding functions or religious days. When teenagers have access to cars or even Uber trips, then their movement is lucid and anything is possible. This is not to through off alarm bells, but that impossible conversation has to happen.

Before the conversation can happen, all parents must have their two cents of education that should primarily come from the school or community. All schools both public and private need counselors who begin with a special course for the teachers and workers too, because sometimes a cleaner can spot unusual behavior for example in the toilets that teachers might miss out. Since 2013 the Ministry of Education in Kenya has worked actively introduce Sex Education in the schools, but if the teachers are shy or not confident with their own sexuality and the subject, they cannot set good examples or convey the message properly.

Community centres should have peer group outings and perhaps on a monthly basis discuss a topic. The topic can vary from entrepreneurship to AIDS. Children and teenagers are suffering silently because of domestic violence, financial difficulties, separated parents, unruly family members, drugs and the list goes on. Sometimes parents have an idea but are too embarrassed to consider counseling, thinking that this applies to mad kids. But mental health problems can lead to suicide or a rebel teenager who can end up using sex to get their relief.

The UNAIDS and African Union have included the access to comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) as part of their HIV response programs. However much needs to be done and Kenya being a very religious country it is important that these programs are implemented at Churches, Mosques and Temples too.

Kenya is one of the 12 countries using social media to spread this education.

However better access to Internet and cheaper smart phones will allow the children and teenagers to use it properly.

Both boys and girls are vulnerable to increased sexual activity. Thus, find better peer groups where their mind is on games, books or a charitable activity. Remind them what’s real and definitely teach them about condoms and contraception, because if anything a sexually transmitted disease can be life threatening for their future. Sometimes it helps to be honest with your children and tell them how it was for you so they know that you were once just like them in their place.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Let’s Go Red, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 25th November, 2016

Let’s Go Red

hiv-aids

This World Aids Day the theme is “HIVNOTRETRO” so let’s revisit this viral disease that has consumed the lives of millions.

Some facts from the World Health Organization:

Infection results in the progressive deterioration of the immune system, breaking down the body’s ability to fend off some infections and other diseases. AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome) refers to the most advanced stages of HIV infection, defined by the occurrence of any of more than 20 opportunistic infections or related cancers.

HIV can be transmitted through:

Unprotected sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal) or oral sex with an infected person;

Transfusions of contaminated blood;

The sharing of contaminated needles, syringes or other sharp instruments;

The transmission between a mother and her baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

Globally, an estimated 36.7 million (34.0–39.8 million) people were living with HIV in 2015, and 1.8 million (1.5–2.0 million) of these were children.

From the UNAIDS most recent report of 2016:

The latest UNAIDS data, covering 160 countries, demonstrate both the enormous

gains already made and what can be achieved in the coming years through a

Fast-Track approach. In just the last two years the number of people living with

HIV on antiretroviral therapy has increased by about a third, reaching 17.0 million people—2 million more than the 15 million by 2015 target set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011. Since the first global treatment target was set in 2003, annual AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 43%. In the world’s most affected region, eastern and southern Africa, the number of people on treatment has more than doubled since 2010, reaching nearly 10.3 million people. AIDS related deaths in the region have decreased by 36% since 2010.

Let’s come closer to home, and these are the facts:

The theme here is “Getting to Zero HIV Infections- Engage Prevent Celebrate #JijueJipange”

Kenya has the joint fourth-largest HIV epidemic in the world (alongside Mozambique and Uganda), in terms of the number of people living with HIV, which was 1.6 million people in 2013. Roughly 58,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in the same year although this dropped by 32% between 2009 and 2013.1 There are now 1.1 million children orphaned by AIDS.

The first case of HIV in Kenya was detected in 1984, and by the mid-1990s it was one of the major causes of mortality in the country putting huge demands on the healthcare system as well as the economy. HIV prevalence peaked at 10.5% in 1996, and had fallen to 6% by 2013 mainly due to the rapid scaling up of antiretroviral treatment (ART).

Let’s talk about AIDS.

In Kenya unfortunately the highest prevalence is between married couples. How come? If we take a typical married couple then here are some harsh facts:

  • Most have a child out of wedlock
  • A traditional wedding expenses prevents a proper union
  • Modern wedding phenomenon also does not help
  • Multiple partners are part of this “marriage”

The above are just some obvious signs of broken relationships and worse health statuses. At the core religion plays a crucial role it is up to the Papacy to say whether condoms are allowed or not. In the recent Zika virus crisis Pope Francis said that the use of condoms was ok, while the Church is known to be one of the largest caregivers to HIV patients, it mostly rebuffs comments on using condoms to prevent HIV.

Thus, as Kenyans it comes down to the culture. We have to come out of our shells and discuss serious topics and take responsibility. Going into a marriage when you do not know your HIV status is like signing up for a death sentence for life. This goes for all communities and should be seen as taking personal health seriously. There is nothing wrong in looking up your spouse’s health status, just like when the woman is ready to conceive and the gynecologist asks about the family medical history, so why not about sexual diseases? It is your right as both man and woman to know. There are no hidden facts that quite a few marriages are already having affairs so why would you want to poison your family with a disease you are bringing home because you cannot control your desires. Marriage is a partnership for better or for worse, but does not let that worse be the end of a life.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,