With the world marking World AIDS day, the war against stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV is still strong.
It is tradition every year, on December 1, that the world marks World Aids Day. This celebration kickstarted 34 years ago on such a day, where it was set aside with the intent of information sharing on matters of HIV. This year’s theme was ‘Equalize’, a call to end the inequalities that impact access to HIV treatment and prevention services as well as the stigma that HIV patients endure while receiving treatment. Kenya was not left behind, marking this event across all 47 counties, with Bungoma playing host to the national event.
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Kenya seeks to address new HIV infections and invest in commodity security that will end AIDS as a public health threat by the year 2030. The first HIV case in Kenya dates back 38 years ago and since then, the country has lost about 2 million people to HIV-related deaths alone. Even with the significant improvement that the country has gone through to curb this menace, a lot more still needs to be done to ensure we achieve a threat-free stage.
During this year’s commemorations, the most put-across interventions include:
- Promoting dialogue and education aimed at ending new HIV infections among adolescents and young people.
- Promoting the rights of those living, and those affected by HIV
- Supporting the vulnerable communities that have been affected by drought and famine.
- Addressing the HIV-related stigma and discrimination that hinders access to treatment and prevention services. All concerning this year’s theme of equalizing.
Even as the WHO was at the forefront of mobilizing nations towards marking this day, the hope is that all the stigma and negative attitudes towards people living with HIV will come to an end, creating a safe environment for HIV patients to coexist in.