According to a survey dubbed Kenya Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (KENPHIA) done by National Aids and STI Control Programme (NASCOP), Kenya has the fifth-largest number of persons living with HIV (Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus) in the world. HIV continues to be a leading cause of adult morbidity and mortality.
From the research, Kenya has 36,000 new HIV infections annually among adults who are between the ages of 15 – 64 years which is 0.14% of the population and 139,000 children are currently living with HIV which is 0.7% of children aged 0-14 years. Currently, HIV prevalence stands at 4.9%, and according to KENPHIA, the prevalence of HIV in women is at 6.6%, twice that of men which stands at 3.1%.
To help curb this, the Chair, Department of Community Health at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Prof. Kenneth Ngure, through a webinar organized by the Directorate of Research on Wednesday 28, July 2021, presented a research report titled “A Journey of PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) from clinical trials to implementation” under the topic “Key developments in HIV Prevention” which he had been carrying out for close to 20 years.
“Oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is medicine taken to prevent getting HIV and is highly effective and safe for preventing HIV when taken as prescribed and less effective when not taken as prescribed,” he said. “PrEP is also safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding,” he added. “Since PrEP only protects against HIV, condom use is still important for the protection against other STIs,” Prof. Ngure asserted.
“It is still better to prevent HIV than to treat a lifelong infection,” he advised. “PrEP is currently available free of charge at public health facilities,” he said.
On his side, the Director of Research and Innovations Dr. John Kinyuru congratulated Prof. Ngure for his expertise in the field of HIV/AIDS.
Prof. Mary Abukutsa, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research Production and Extension appreciated the research director for the good planning of the ongoing seminar activities since they were putting the University on the Kenyan map.
Despite the fact that AIDS struck the continent at a time when it was undergoing its worst financial crisis since independence, African governments through the National AIDS Control programmes, international development agencies, private voluntary organizations and other non-governmental groups across Africa have devoted resources, time and energy to developing low-cost interventions to arrest the spread of HIV and AIDS.