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HIV and AIDS in Kenya
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a very deadly disease. This disease causes debilitating illness and ultimately causes early death in people who are in the prime of their lives. This illness has major affects on the families that are impacted. HIV / AIDS ruins the lives of many, those infected and their families. Children are orphaned, wives are widowed and families become improvised because of these horrible diseases. This disease diminishes the individual's ability to work and support themselves and their families. The cost of caring for the person with this disease is an overwhelming burden on the household finances. Africa is known for its pandemic of HIV / AIDS, which needs more attention and worldwide care (Kyobutungi et. al., 2009). Kenya is one of the countries in Africa where many people are infected, ill because of HIV / AIDS, spouses are left alone to care for their children, families are improvised, and children are orphaned and homeless because of this horrible plague.
It is important to understand how devastating the impact of the HIV / AIDS epidemic is in Kenya. A large percentage of population is infected and more people continue to get infected each year. There is a lack of education about the how HIV / AIDS is transmitted and how to prevent infection.. Although the Kenyan government has made much progress in the last few years in communication information to the general public about this horrible epidemic, there is still a lack of knowledge. The citizens of Kenya need to be educated about HIV / AIDS, about the dangers of this disease and educated about safe sex practices. Educating the public about how to protect themselves from being infected is essential to stop this epidemic.
Description of HIV / AIDS
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV / AIDS is a condition in human beings that breaks down the immune system, causing the person to become susceptible to all types of life-threatening infections. HIV / AIDS is transmitted sexually, through vaginal fluids, semen, blood or breast milk, it is also transmitted through blood transfusions. This virus is mainly transmitted through, blood transfusions, unsafe sexual practices, contaminated needles; breast milk and transmission from an inflected mother to her baby at birth (Wikipedia, 2011).
HIV / AIDS is a significant problem in Kenya because of the amount of people that has died from this disease, the amount of people that is currently infected, and the people that are still being infected each year. Most of these people are too poor to afford the necessary health care cost for this disease. Individuals with HIV / AIDS in Kenya are usually afraid to disclose their health status because of discrimination (Turan et. al., 2008). People are often treated differently and discriminated against once their HIV / AIDS status is revealed. According to Turan et. al. (2008) pregnant women in Kenya often avoid delivering their babies in health care facilities because of discrimination. People refuse to be tested because of the stigma associated with a positive HIV / AIDS results.
Kenya is known for risky sexual behaviors. There is widespread reporting of high-risk sexual behavior, people still have multiple sexual partners, and they involve in sexual mixing, and don't use condoms (Roth, Ngugi & Fujita, 2009). Below is a table of their study, showing risk assessment in Kenya, Information about sexual behavior using a sample of 400 participants.
There are cultural practices in Kenya that encourages individuals to have multiple sexual partners and reject the idea of using condoms. These practices are still encouraged today and HIV / AIDS testing are not encouraged (Ayikukwei et. al., 2008). Many communities such as western Kenya, people continue to believe and practice cultural sexual rituals, even though in the modern world they are considered dangerous and deadly. The hospitals in Kenya are overwhelmed by unprecedented numbers of people infected with HIV / AIDS (Raviola et. al., 2002). Medical professional in these medical facilities are suffering from burnout and being over worked because of the HIV / AIDS epidemic.
HIV / AIDS in countries like Kenya destroys the family in many different ways. It takes a loved one away from the family, sometimes more than one person. A mother can pass on this disease to her children and her spouse. If one spouse develops HIV / AIDS it is likely that the other spouse will have it as well. This impacts the entire family, because the children will lose both parents, leaving them orphaned and improvised. Often the young and elderly are left with limited resources to quickly regain a sustainable livelihood (Drimie, 2003).
Prevention of HIV / AIDS
There are many different things that can be done to prevent this widespread of HIV / AIDS. Educating the population about the virus, how it is spread and how to prevent spread of HIV / AIDS is essential. Voluntary counseling and testing is essential for the prevention of HIV / AIDS. Utilization of condoms and practicing safe sex by limiting partners will help prevent HIV / AIDS (Irungu et. al., 2008). Spreading information about this disease will help raise awareness of the disease and educate people about how it is spread.
In Kenya they have used many different methods of communicating the impact of this virus to the residents. The media and many other methods of communication interventions were placed to inform and educate the public about the disease and to promote change that would create a healthier sexual practice in Kenya. Muturi (2005) found that although much of Kenya residents have heard the communicated message, many people still do not understand the message; they do not understand the impact of HIV / AIDS.
UN HIV / AIDS Strategy
The United Nations have recognized HIV / AIDS as a serious problem, especially in Africa. The UN has developed a strategic plan for fighting this problem. The first step is that UN plan is to enhance social protection which will reduce the individual's chance of becoming infected with HIV. The UN will help to educate the public about this disease, the dangers of HIV / AIDS, and how to protect themselves from getting infected. The UN is asking everyone to get involved to stop this deadly epidemic (UNAIDS, 2009).
HIV / AIDS Statistics
According to Avert Statistics in 2009 there is an estimated 33.3 million people living in the world with HIV / AIDS, there is 16.6 million children orphaned because their parents died from HIV / AIDS. In the Sub-Saharan Africa where Kenya is located, there are 22.5 million people infected with HIV / AIDS (Avert, 2009). This is a significant amount of people infected; this is the largest area of infection in the world. In the United States there is an estimated one million people who are infected with HIV / AIDS (CDC, 2010). In 2009 in the Sub-Saharan Africa there was 1.3 million deaths related to HIV / AIDS. According to the Ministry of Health in Kenya "Treatment of eligible persons living with HIV & AIDS has resulted in decreased mortality and morbidity, increased quality of life, decreased hospitalization and promoted economic growth as persons on ARVs regain their health" (Mohammed, 2009).
In Kenya women account for about 65% of the adults living with HIV / AIDS, higher than most of the sub-Saharan African region (Kaiser Family, 2005). The HIV / AIDS rate for women in almost double that of men in Kenya. The majority of the new diagnosis of HIV / AIDS in Kenya occurs with young women, ages 15-24 years and young men under the age of 30. Many children are also diagnosed with HIV / AIDS, many of whom this disease was transmitted from their mother. More people that are poor are infected than those that are rich. People that are less educated are also more at risk for being infected with HIV / AIDS.
Studies by Onsomu (2010) have found that although Kenya only holds 12% of the world's population, more than 5% of its population is infected with HIV / AIDS. Kenya is characterized by high-risk sexual behavior, behaviors such as neglect to use condoms, multiple sexual partners, and prostitution. Onsomu found there is negative stigma associated with the use of condoms and there is negative attitudes towards sexual education in Kenya. Onsomu also found that the wealthier men were presenting more high risk sexual behavior. The results of the study also showed poor women had lower risk of high risk sexual behavior. The study found the odds of testing positive for HIV was much higher in both males and females when they are inflicted with an sexually transmitted disease.
Current available information shows that people, who are poor, usually have lower access to health care services. They are usually diagnosed and treated for HIV / AIDS later and in many cases cannot afford the necessary…[continue]
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