HIV/Aids

27 November 2007

Kenya sets HIV testing example

More than 20 of Kenya's top business executives took public HIV tests Monday in a bid to raise awareness of the disease and encourage workers to follow suit, health officials said.

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More than 20 of Kenya's top business executives took public HIV tests Monday in a bid to raise awareness of the disease and encourage workers to follow suit, health officials said.

At least 26 CEOs took the HIV tests in public under a new programme organised by the state-run National Aids Control Council (NACC) to encourage their staff and families to get diagnosed.

NACC chief Alloys Orago said that Kenya still falls short of meeting the UN's universal access targets for prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010 - despite managing to cut Aids prevalence rates.

"In the area of counselling and testing, we only met 20 percent of our universal targets. If you look at the area of treatment, only 170 000 out of 430 000 people who require antiretroviral therapy are receiving it in this country," Orago told reporters.

"That is only 39.5 percent and we only have two and a half years to get to 2010," he added.

Targeting the labour force
Orago said the council was targeting the 19 984 316 people in the Kenyan labour force who form a "missing link" in the battle against Aids in the country, home to 35 million people.

"After this (testing by the CEOs), there will be an enhanced workplace programme in all the sectors," he said.

"We are therefore calling upon all CEOs to lead all their staff and families by example through presenting themselves for counselling and testing," Orago added.

Kenya's official Aids prevalence rate is 5.1 percent, down from 5.9 percent in 2005, partly due to the distribution of a new drug to prevent mother-to-child transmission.

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 72 percent of global Aids deaths, and two-thirds of all people infected with HIV. – (Sapa-AFP)

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HIV/Aids Centre

November 2007

 

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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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