Kenya is a country that is located on the eastern side of Africa. According to the recent census results conducted in 2019, the country has approximately 50milion people (KNBS, 2020). However, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death. HIV/AIDs in Kenya include unprotected sex, unsafe injections, sharing contaminated sharp equipment, and accidental stick injuries.
According to the National Aids Control Council, the number of new HIV infections in 2021 alone increased by 30 027, while the recorded deaths were 19,486 (NACC, 2021). As of 2016, HIV prevalence was 5.9%, and of that population, 64% were on active treatment while 51% were virally suppressed. (Avert 2019). HIV is also the leading killer disease in Kenya, and it affects both the infected and immediate family members.
Unprotected Anal or Vaginal sex
According to WHO (2021), unprotected anal or vaginal sex is a risk factor for HIV. However, unprotected anal or virginal sex is determined by gender-based violence, poverty, education level, and drug abuse. The majority of those who experience gender-based violence are women. Avert (2019), 33% of the total rape cases in Kenya are experienced by young ladies, while 14% of the married ladies experience sexual abuse. In all cases, no protection was used. Moreover, Gatongi et al. (2015) confirm that family background and culture where women are viewed as inferior to men expose them to unprotected sex. Additionally, statistics from the World Bank show that 36.1% of the Kenyan population lives below the poverty level (World Bank, 2018).
Moreover, education level and drug abuse are other determinants of unprotected sex. Although the government of Kenya offers free primary education, some Kenyans have low education. This is mainly determined by culture, family background, poverty, conflicts, peer pressure, and marginalization. Lack of education inhibits awareness of the importance of having protected sex. Averts 2019 records that in 2014, only 73% and 82% of women and men had knowledge about using protection. However, drug abuse is determined by geographical location, poverty level, stress, marginalization, peer influence, and family background. When people are under the influence of drugs, they tend to be unaware of their environment; thus, they get exposed to unprotected sex.
Unsafe Injections, Blood Transfusions, Tissue Transplantation, Unsterile Cutting/ Piercing
Unsafe injections, blood transfusions, tissue transplantation, and unsterile cutting or piercing risks lead to HIV (WHO, 2021). However, this risk factor is determined by education level and poverty. When people have lower education levels, they tend to be unaware of the risks associated with unsafe injections and other activities that can expose them to HIV (Gatongi et al., 2015). Moreover, poverty forces individuals to seek cheap services of unsafe injections, tissues transplant, blood transfusions, and unsterile cutting or piercing. However, World Bank (2006) and WHO (2018) illustrate that poverty is determined by conflict, marginalization, and rigid culture. The authors also demonstrate that Education level is determined by poverty, rigid culture, conflict, marginalization, family background, and peer influence.
Sharing Contaminated Injecting/Sharp Equipment and Drug Solutions Piercing
Sharing contaminated injecting or sharp equipment and drug solutions piercing is another risk factor of HIV in Kenya (WHO, 2021). However, this kind of sharing is determined by poverty and drug abuse. Poverty limits individuals from acquiring injecting objects such as syringes and drug solutions (Gatongi et al., 2015). As a result, people opt to share to save costs. However, poverty is determined by rigid culture, conflict, and marginalization. However, abuse of drugs is determined by stress, peer influence, geographical location, marginalization, poverty, and family background.
Accidental Needle Stick Injuries
Finally, accidental needle stick injuries are another important risk factor for HIV in Kenya (WHO, 2021). Accidental needle stick injuries are mainly common in hospitals where physicians are dealing with patients who are infected with HIV. Although accidental needle stick injuries are not common, it is determined by drug abuse and profession. When physicians dealing with HIV patients are under the influence of drugs, they may accidentally inject themselves with the sharp objects used by the patients (Avert, 2019). However, drug abuse is caused by poverty, marginalization, peer influence, stress, geographical location, and family background. In a profession such as nursing, doctors, however, exposes individuals who handle sharp objects used by infected people to HIV. A profession is determined by individual risk and academic qualifications (the Republic of Kenya., 2020).
In conclusion, despite the government and international governments putting measures to curb the spread of HIV/ AIDS in Kenya, it is still the leading killer of diseases. Numerous resources have been invested in tackling the disease, thus depriving other sectors of receiving development as they are insufficiently funded since more resources are diverted. Engaging in unprotected sex, unsafe practices, sharing of contaminated injecting or sharp equipment and drug solutions piercing, and accidental needle stick injuries are all risk factors of HIV in Kenya.
Avert. (2019). HIV and AIDS in Kenya. https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/sub-saharan-africa/kenya
Gatongi, P. M., Lakati, A., Kiarie, J. N., Mutai, K. K., & Gatumia, B. W. (2015). Socio-economic determinants of disease progression among HIV infected adults in Kenya. BMC. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-015-2084-8
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. (2020). 2019 Kenya population and housing census report. KNBS. https://www.knbs.or.ke/2019-kenya-population-and-housing-census-reports/
National Aids Control Council. (2021 December, 1). Renewed high level commitment to the HIV response. NACC. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjH9ZerxMz1AhWj2eAKHZE2DDAQFnoECCMQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fnacc.or.ke%2F&usg=AOvVaw23cZNfpTjjMZmiK-aWatdI
The Republic of Kenya. (2020). Revised scheme of service for clinical personnel. https://www.health.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/revised-clinical-sos-final-draft-june-15th-2020-1.pdf
The World Bank. (2006). Who gets AIDS and how? https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/8741?locale-attribute=es
WHO. (2021). HIV/AIDS https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hiv-aids
World Health Organization. (2018). https://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/hivaids
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