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1.8 M Nigerian AIDS Orphans Kenya: No drugs for children with HIV
  May 28, 2006,
By ANDnetwork .com
Only three per cent of Kenyan children infected with HIV have access to drugs, the country's report to be presented to the UN this week indicates.
Of the 120,000 children infected with HIV, only 4,000 have been put on anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy, the report to be tabled at the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV and Aids starting on Wednesday says.
Now one-third of all infant deaths are as a result of Aids.
According to Unicef, a widely available drug, Cotrimoxazole, that can reduce mortality for the children by nearly 50 per cent costs Sh22 a day.
Unicef says despite the fact that most of the infected children caught the virus from their mothers, less than 10 per cent of pregnant women are offered services to stop the spread of HIV to their babies.
Children orphaned
The Kenya report to the UN says that 1.7 million children have been orphaned by Aids. Sixty per cent are under 14 years.
The report also highlights the strategies employed by Kenya to bring down the HIV/Aids prevalence rate from 14 per cent in 1993 to 6.1 per cent.
Kenya's impressive statistics on the declining prevalence rate has placed the country as the only other after Uganda to achieve a sustained decline in HIV infection levels in Sub Saharan Africa.
The report says political will in fighting Aids and concerted efforts in the war has posted positive results, especially in behaviour change.
"It is evident that there is increased adoption of safer sexual behaviour, condom use and reduction of men and women with multiple sexual partners. In addition, more young men and women are delaying sexual debut," it states.
It shows that the annual figure of people contracting HIV has dropped from 200,000 in 1993 to 90,000.
The report, however, says that the declining prevalence rate is also as a result of the higher death rate of the infected people.
"Most of the people in Kenya contracted HIV in mid-1990s, and it is now that Aids is taking its toll on them. With declining infection rates and more deaths of those infected, we are now recording lower prevalence," said the National Aids Control Council chairperson, Prof Miriam Were.
Positive results
But despite the positive results, the report indicates that Kenya still has a long way to go, especially in putting more victims on ARVs. Out of 250,000 people in need of the therapy, only 72,000 are benefiting.
It also shows that young women aged between 15 and 24 years are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection, compared with young men in the same age bracket.
Source : Nation Media
1.8m Nigerian children are HIV/AIDS orphans - UNICEF
OVER 1.8 million children in Nigeria have lost their parents to AIDS while one million young people aged 20 to 29 are infected with HIV. Also, 30 per cent of the children infected with the virus globally die before their first birthday while 50 per cent die before the age of two.
The United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) representative in Nigeria, Mr. Ayalew Abai, who disclosed this, said young people still represented the most affected age group.
Mr. Abai, who spoke during the 2006 Children's Day celebration in Abuja, said thousands of children in the country were living with sick and dying parents.
He said this could cause psychological distress, economic hardship, stigma and discrimination.
gAlthough the HIV rate in Nigeria has decreased from 5.8 per cent in 2001 to 4.4 per cent in 2005 according to the recent sentinel survey published by the Ministry of Health, the disease is still a long way from being brought under control,h he said.
To prevent infections in young children, the UNICEF representative said the best approach was to prevent mother to child transmission.
In Nigeria, he said 230 health sites were providing services for the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV.
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