Report shows drop in infections among children
Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
There are 6,806 new HIV/Aids infections among children between the ages of 0 to 14 years, a new report shows.
The report released by the National Aids Control Council (NACC) however shows that this is a drop from 18,000 in 2014.
“Estimates show that by end of 2019, Kenya had averted 118,300 mother to child HIV infections, due to scale up of prevention of transmission from mother to child during pregnancy and breastfeeding since 2004,” reads the report.
It notes that the main mode of HIV transmission among children is from their mothers during pregnancy, birth and breast-feeding.
The report says in 2019, a total of 59,304 representing 94 per cent of women living with the virus, received anti-retroviral-prophylaxis, to prevent transmission during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
Despite the annual decline in the number of women in need of prevention of mother to child transmission services, from about 85,400 in 2010 to 63,000 in 2019, the report regrets that an estimated 6,696 HIV positive pregnant women, did not access treatment for their health and that of their unborn and newborns in 2019.
On the other hand, 34,337 children representing 32 per cent living with HIV were not on treatment by the end of 2019, adding that among those on treatment, only 51 per cent were virally suppressed, leaving a large number of children prone to HIV related infections.
HIV transmission among children, the report revealed, is due to early sexual debut and defilement cases, with statistics showing that in 2019, 20,362 children between ero to 14 years were pregnant.
The increase in the number of pregnancies, according to the report, is as a result of the high number of orphans (656,300), who require social protection services.
Others are low transition rates from primary to secondary school, as 18 per cent of girls do not complete primary education
With regards to teenage pregnancies, the report states there is a need to target locations with high teenage pregnancies as a proxy-indicator of heightened risk to HIV infections among girls.