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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya decries rising HIV infections among the young

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s National AIDS Control Council (NACC) on Wednesday decried rising HIV infections among those aged between 10 and 24 in the country.

NACC program officer, Jacqueline Dache, told Xinhua that this age segment currently contributed 46 percent of all new HIV infections.

“The girls are especially vulnerable as they account for roughly two thirds of all infections among adolescents and young people,” Dache said during a Reproductive Health Workshop organized by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a U.S.-based NGO.

Dache said that 51 percent of all new adult HIV infections were contributed by those under the age of 24, adding NACC was implementing programs that target adolescents and young people.

“This cohort needs to be empowered so that they make the right decisions to prevent them from getting infected,” Dache said.

She said the lack of job opportunities for the youth and the rising school drop-out rates contributed to the high infection rates.

“Schools provide protective environment that reduces chances of young people engaging in risky behavior,” she added.

Other causes of high HIV infection rates include alcohol and drug abuse as well as mother to child transmission.

AHF Kenya Country Director, Dr Wamae Maranga, said that adolescent girls and young women living with HIV in Kenya faced barriers to accessing adequate health services.

He also said that unauthorized disclosure of students’ HIV status in learning institutions served to enhance the high levels of HIV stigma.

             

 

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