By Reuben Olita
Women in Busia County continue to bear the burden of HIV/Aids, Chief Officer Public Health Jonathan Ino has revealed.
Speaking during the commemoration of the World Aids Day at Bunyala Technical and Vocational College in Bunyala Sub County, Ino said women have recorded 9.5 per cent compared to men at 3.8% based on statistics from the Department of Health and Sanitation.
He said that despite the HIV prevalence rate droping from 7.7 per cent in 2018 to 6.7 per cent in 2020, the number of persons living with the disease has increased from 38,606 to 39,189.
He said that: “It is worth noting that the identification of positive clients is below target. We have so far managed to identify 88% of people living with HIV out of a target of 95%.”
Ino further disclosed that only 90 per cent of people living with HIV are on ARVs, attributing it to non disclosure of HIV status and other factors including food security, illiteracy, high level of stigma and discrimination.
“As a Department we are working towards improving suppression rates of people living with HIV. We appeal to our partners, key Government Departments and the community at large to support this noble course in ensuring we meet our target in identification and viral suppression,” he added.
He stressed that the County Government is Committed towards eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV and Syphilis, adding that strategies have been laid down to support couples who are positive to deliver HIV uninfected children.
“Mother to child transmission rate in Busia County is at 9.7 per cent which is a drop from 13.1% in 2018. Out target is to reduce it to less than 5%.”
The remarks were echoed by the County Aids and STI coordinator Constance Were who cautioned men against rejecting their wives once confirmed to be positive.
“We have a practice in Busia where men chase their partners to go to their parents on realization that they have the disease yet when it is vice versa the women take care of them,” she said, emphasizing the need for men to shun the behaviour.
“Our local leadership should talk to men to tell them that even if their wives are HIV positive there is still a solution,”
Mrs Were asserted that in line with the World AIDS Day theme ” Stop teenage pregnancies towards elimination of HIV” there is need for joint efforts to reduce cases of adolescents getting pregnant.
“Let us take the responsibility of ensuring that our young girls are protected to prevent early pregnancy considering that disco matanga is among contributing factors.
Present included Busia County Health Management Team members, the Assistant County Commissioner Bunyala Sub County Simon Maina and partners among them AMPATHPLUS.