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EDITORIAL: Intensify war to cut high youth HIV infection rates

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A man holds some HIV pills. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

While the war on HIV/Aids has for many years been focused on enlightening the adult segment of society, latest data shows that the youth have been forgotten,

The HIV campaign should now be refocused to the youth and stop focusing solely on the adults.

According to the 2018 Kenya Aids Response Progress Report, the government’s quest to halt the spread of HIV is facing a new demographics challenge with girls aged between 15 and 24 accounting for the highest number of new infections.

This cohort now accounts for one third of the 44,789 new HIV infections.

Given that the campaign to enlighten the adults has been effective, the government should now scale up efforts to rope in girls in the campaign.

The report by the National Aids Control Council shows that total new infections stood at 52,767 annually, which included 7,978 children.

We aver that it is time to roll out more campaigns that will help stop the rapid erosion of moral and social skills in our society.

The main stakeholders should come up with effective solutions that will help combat the disease.

Kenya has come a long way and deserves to be commended for tackling the pandemic.

However, more still needs to be done and the country cannot afford to rest on its laurels.

New HIV infections among all age groups declined from 77,200 in 2020 to 52,800 in 2017 or a 32 percent decline in the number of new infections.

The battle must be continuous for it to reap fruit.

The new data is proof that too much focus was placed on adults but we forgot that new generations were coming up.

Educational institutions and religious bodies should work in concert with parents and the government in ensuring that the message trickles down to the masses.

The fact that there has been a knowledge gap and failure to provide access to prevention methods has played a part in the spiralling rate of new infections among young girls.

Empowering our youth will go a long war in winning the battle against the disease.

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