Kirinyaga develops County AIDS Implementation Plan (CAIP)
Kirinyaga has developed a five years County AIDS Implementation Plan (CAIP) to guide the HIV response in the county. Speaking during the World Aids Day celebrations held at Kutus, Kirinyaga County Director of Health, Dr. George Karoki, said that the plan will be implemented alongside other related strategies to provide a sustainable roadmap for programing, coordination and stakeholder engagement in HIV response in the county.
He said that over the years, the county’s department of health has been working closely with various stakeholders to see to it that HIV transmissions amongst all populations are reduced. “The new strategy will help us achieve better outcomes towards further reduction and eventual elimination of new transmissions in the county.” Said the director, emphasizing on the need for every person to know their HIV status and taking medication where applicable.
Currently there are about14,000 persons living with HIV in the county, out of which 12,000 are accessing treatment at various health facilities. The county’s prevalence rate currently stands at 3.1%. Dr. Karoki noted that the county has put up appropriate early warning response systems in order to mitigate cases of sexual and gender based violence and teenage pregnancies which hamper the fight against HIV. The National AIDS Control Council (NAAC) which was represented by Samuel Kinuthia among other officials, lauded various stakeholders who have been in the forefront in advocacy on HIV/AIDS issues in the county.
Kinuthia recognized the great role that the youth in the county have been playing on advocacy and articulation of HIV issues in the community singling out the exceptional work done by 25 years old Charles Karuga who was named by NAAC as the nation’s number one Adolescent and Young People (AYP) HIV advocate during the annual HIV Maisha Scientific Conference.
NAAC called upon all communities, especially the young people to work with a determined purpose of eradicating and managing all epidemics and vulnerabilities including HIV and STIs, Covid-19, non-communicable diseases, sexual and Gender based violence as well as teenage pregnancies. The day’s world theme was ‘Ending Inequalities and Ending Epidemics’ while the national one focused around the critical issues touching on adolescents and young people.
Kirinyaga’s event laid emphasis on prevention measures as well as use of Pre-exposure prophylaxis medication and ARVs. Outreach services such as Covid-19 vaccination, cancer, diabetes and blood pressure screening as well as HIV counselling and testing services were also offered. Several people who have been living with HIV also gave testimonies on how adhering to ARVs has enabled them to live meaningful lives.
Before assembling at Kutus ACK Church Grounds, a procession made up of various stakeholders was led through Kutus town by students from Kirinyaga University displaying placards bearing diverse HIV/AIDS awareness messages.