Guardian Examines Challenge Of Testing, Treating Patients With HIV/AIDS In Kenya

The Guardian examines the challenge of testing and treating some of the estimated 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya. “Deep-rooted stigma and patchy health education has led many to cower from the disease, which has seen the country’s life expectancy rates shortened by 20 years in the last two decades,” the newspaper writes. Even though “[t]he country’s government has supplied antiretroviral therapy (ART) to suppress the virus to patients for free since 2006, … of the 390,000 adults estimated as being eligible for ART at the time of the survey, around 140,000, or 35%, were taking the medication,” according to a 2007 country survey.

“Stigma is still the biggest challenge in terms of gaining treatment for people with HIV,” said Charles Maina, Makueni district hospital’s medical superintendent. “People can pay a lot of money for spiritual remedies before seeking medical treatment. They only come to hospital when they are not able to recover – by that stage their conditions can be very complicated.”

The article also examines views of the idea of “treating all HIV/Aids patients with ART could halt transmission of the disease” – explored earlier this month in a World Health Organization consultation –and how it might play out in Kenya (Taylor, 11/23).