Recent statistics by UNAIDS have indicated that Kenya has the joint fourth largest HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world, alongside Mozambique and Uganda. Even as the government and other stakeholders continue with their determinations to end this epidemic by 2030 in line with Vision 2030 and the global Sustainable Development Goals, there is need to build more awareness on the disease to those living without it, the infected ones and those affected since we all fall under either of those categories.
One of the targets towards combating this disease is to ensure universal access to sexual health-care services, information and education, and the integration of these into national strategies and programmes.
There is need to invest in massive campaigns targeting the young people to ward off any ignorance that may be there in terms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs). Discussion stages should be established where the transmission, treatment and prevention of STIs can be freely discussed.
The levels of stigma and discrimination to those already infected in Kenya is high and this is preventing them from accessing care from hospitals and is in some ways leading to new infections. Stigma to those infected needs to be eradicated and proper care and support given to them so that they can also participate in creating awareness on these diseases.
Such platforms should be established by all and sundry. Counties as the other level of government, schools, religious institutions and other public fora are not left behind in coming up with ideas for discussion on how this disease can be challenged. Individuals in whichever capacity should also seek more information about STIs and proliferate to their circles through social media and other fora for discussion.
Each person has a role to play in addressing this pandemic since this pandemic affects the general population, with an estimated 1.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS and an estimated 53,000 new infections happening annually.
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A redacted version of this article has been published on The Standard by the same author