1st December 2018 marked the 30th anniversary of World Aids Day.
As it is still December, we thought you should know the following facts;
• There are 36.9 million people globally living with HIV.
• Kenya is the fourth largest epidemic nation with over 1.6 million people living with HIV.
• More than half of all new HIV infections in Kenya occur among adolescents and young people (aged 15-24 years)
• The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that infects cells of the immune system, destroying or impairing their function.
• An infected individual then becomes more susceptible to infections, disease and various types of cancer.
• Transmission of HIV is through the exchange of a variety of body fluids from infected persons including blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions.
• HIV can be suppressed by Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) which allows an individual's immune system to strengthen and regain its ability to fight off infection. Adherence to treatment results in remarkable clinical benefits with a substantial reduction in morbidity and mortality.
• The WHO recommendation is to initiate lifelong ART in all people living with HIV which will contribute significantly to reducing HIV transmission. Adherence has been found to reduce the transmission rate by up to 96%.
• Individuals can prevent HIV infection through taking various measures such as knowing yours and your partners HIV status, getting tested and treated early for sexually transmitted illnesses, practicing safe sex and avoiding intravenous drug use.
• The red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV. Wearing a ribbon is a great way to raise awareness on and during the run up to World AIDS Day.
Do you know your HIV status?
As we get ready to usher in 2019, make sure you get tested.