HIV/AIDS Prevalence on the Rise in East Africa

By Allan Tawai.

Stigmatization and discrimination among commercial sex workers, transgender, prisoners and homosexuals has been identified as the main causes for the high HIV/AIDS prevalence in East Africa.

The cases among the group popularly known as ‘key population’ are on the rise in East and Southern Africa.

This emerged during a workshop on Kenya National Advocacy convening on reducing violence and discrimination against the key population held at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha.

According to the Vice Chair of Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), George Morara, the high HIV prevalence among the group was worrying.

Morara noted that HIV prevalence among the Key population was more than three times the national prevalence rates of 5.9 percent.

In terms of TB, the commissioner noted that studies had proven that the prevalence was fifty times higher in prisons in Africa.

“People with TB have experienced stigma while government figures indicate that 30 percent of new HIV infections are among the Key population in the country,” he said.

Morara called for concerted efforts to support the group adding that there was need among key stakeholders to strengthen advocacy strategies.

“When this group is stigmatized and discriminated they do not have the  incentive to seek health services and legal protection,” he said.

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