Kenya as far as Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) is concerned

Published 26, Jul, 2017
Author // Kimutai Kemboi,

From Kenya, Kimutai Kemboi on the achievements and the challenges Kenya faces going forward in the fight against HIV.

Kenya as far as Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) is concerned

As a developing country, Kenya still faces a number of challenges in almost all sectors, including the health sector. This poses a great threat when it comes to addressing health related issues. Such challenges include shortage of funds, inadequate specialized equipment among other things.

Despite these difficulties, the Government of Kenya has put in place policies favoring activities that boost provision of health care services. These include a National Health Insurance Fund run by the government, Health Insurance coverage provided by insurance companies and also some telecommunication companies have started offering the same, in select hospitals that have subscribed to this. These initiatives have helped boost access to medical services.

When it comes to HIV, Kenya has done a lot though there is still much to do. Over the past few years, many people have been tested for HIV and initiated to medication, as shown by the rise in figures of statistics from the Ministry of Health. The government has also taken a step ahead by making and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) available to reduce cases of new infections in people at risk of infection.

Introduction of self testing kits is also a major milestone in the fight against HIV. Self testing eases the complications, as some people say, of going for a test at the clinic.

Though the above are achievements, there are two or three things that are still not exhaustively addressed; these are stigma and the significance of suppressed viral load among a few other things. Stigma is the major challenge that we people living with HIV are still experiencing. The society sees us from a negative point of view and this is a serious setback to the 'positive society'.

Our government, through the concerned organs, has not adequately addressed this. The Ministry of Health and other stakeholders have not elaborated on the benefits of achieving viral suppression. This has kept many people under medication in darkness, not knowing what it means to be undetectable. This needs a campaign to educate the public.

People need to know that that undetectable equals untransmittable.

About the Author

Kimutai Kemboi,

Kimutai Kemboi,

"I am Kimutai Kemboi, turning 26 on 9th of April 2017. Currently I am pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science at Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. 

"I’m HIV positive and under medication but doing well health wise since I have accepted to live positively, adhere to medication and practice a healthy lifestyle so that HIV does not overwhelm me. Besides my studies, I work as a volunteer to create HIV awareness and sensitivity in the community, both face to face and through social media platforms, especially Facebook.

"I opted to do this awareness-raising because I want to have an HIV-free society and save my generation from perishing."