When HIV in Kenya is talked about, it doesn’t invoke the fear and stigma it used to. After the dangers of the HIV virus were exposed to the world, and many people came to realize the degree of its perilous side; fear and silence was all that mattered. All the initial trepidation have been swept away however and people almost equate the virus to normal sicknesses like malaria today. Nonetheless, it is a hybrid of both good and detrimental statement. Good for the confidence and stress-free life, but very dangerous for it can instill complacency in many at risk.
Here are a few hidden facts about HIV in Kenya.
The use of Antiviral Drugs to tame the HIV in Kenya is widespread today thanks inpart to The government and donors aggressive push to try and curb the spread of the virus and seems to be the dominant and only trend for managing HIV in Kenya. According to a 2014 report by World Health Organization, by 2014, 1.9 million people were taking the ARV drugs and that number increases on yearly basis. Another report by Kenya’s ministry of health, “HIV in Kenya Estimates” reveals that in 2013, Kenya had around over 88,000 newer infections. It adds that since 2009, the country has saved around 380,000 lives. Those living positively by the same year were estimated to be 1.6 million with adults making over 800,000, the report clarifies. Another intriguing revelation by the “HIV Estimates” report is that there are over 60,000 AIDS related mortality annually in Kenya. ARV drugs can only help in increasing the life span of those who already have the virus. But as it seems, the efforts of curbing the trend seems to be lacking efficacy are totally inadequate.
Most people with HIV in Kenya live in detrimental “comfort zone”
Using the Antiretroviral Drugs is has many benefits as it enables many people live their lives, continue with their plans too. It is because of these drugs that some infected widows and many other people living positively can raise the families. The initiative has been gainful. Why? I said so because many Kenyans can dare say in Kiswahili that “hata kama umeshikwa na Ukimwi si utatumia tu ARVs na usukume maisha” meaning “even if you contract HIV in Kenya, you will just take ARVs and elongated your life”.
Many people perhaps have the view that after the entire virus is containable and due to this; they become complacent and careless with their lives. It is the kind of feeling that some people would describe as living in “comfort zone” or burying one’s head in the sand like ostritch. Living careless life cannot be blamed on the drugs, as these drugs are given to those who already have the virus. But the perception that other sections of the society develop makes them even more vulnerable as they become careless.
Imperceptible Sero-conversion stages of HIV in Kenya often cost lives
Those who have been lectured on how the HIV virus react against the antibodies have this familiar term to remember-“Window Period”. While they can vividly remember the term, it is possible to assert that few of them can recall the kinds of sicknesses that signify the presence of the virus in the body in just few weeks down the line. Or those they will remember are rare signs. In most cases, the window period is characterized by symptoms such as dry cough, flu, night sweats, weight loss, rare diarrhea, lymph node swellings and other temporary sicknesses.
However, some people may not detect these symptoms and by the time they go for the test, they are either bedridden beyond help or their immune systems have thoroughly nose-dived. Obviously, in Kenya, HIV/AIDS related deaths reported by government maybe unsurprisingly linked to the situations where people fail detect or check their HIV status earlier. Health education has to emphasize on this to make gains in the fight.
Ignorance about opportunistic infections and stigma about HIV in Kenya
Despite the decades of having HIV in Kenya, many may have not come to terms with its reality. Those who are infected or suspected to be are treated with contempt and it makes it difficult for them to seek treatment. What is the result of all this? They inevitably succumb. For most cases, when immunity is low, the body can be infected by other infections such as TB, PPC Pneumonia or meningitis. For maybe ignorance, those infected may not know about these risks and this makes it difficult for them to survive.