Delayed treatment, fear, and stigma have been highlighted as the main factors that hinder the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Speaking during a webinar held by the University of Nairobi ahead of World AIDS Day commemoration, Dr. Loice Ombajo, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Nairobi Faculty of Health Sciences said HIV/AIDS is still a major health problem despite the good treatment.
According to Dr. Ombajo, new HIV infections are still a concern. Data shows there are 36,000 new HIV infections in a year in Kenya meaning there is need for more talk about testing, prevention and early linkage to care.
Despite all these, Dr. Ombajo said there is good HIV treatment available that is safe and efficacious with newer, potentially better options in the horizon that have that have reduced requirements for fewer dosses
“Now patients will have to come in every two months for an injection and possibly a six months’ injection and probably drugs that will not require frequent dose,” Dr. Ombajo said.
Prof. Dismas Ongore, from the Department of Public and Global Health at UoN FHS released the results of a study conducted among UoN students.
The study revealed STIs, HIV/AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse as the main health problems facing the students at UoN.
“As a university, we understand that the youth who represent the biggest group in our university are the ones bearing the bigger burden of HIV infections and hence the need to involve students, members of staff and their dependants on the efforts to reduce and even eradicate new infections in our community,” said Prof. Stephen Kiama, in a speech read on his behalf by Prof, Julius Ongeng’o, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs.
The Vice Chancellor said the University through the Directorate of Health Services is working hard towards the strategies aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS to zero.
Such efforts include emergence of stronger and more robust Faculty based AIDS control units and more involved student leadership in matters of HIV sensitization and prevention.
“UHS aims to build resilient and sustainable platforms for the prevention of new infections, sexual and gender based violence and pregnancies among adolescents. It seems to facilitate an enabling environment for access to treatment, care, mental health and justice for survivors of sexual and gender based violence, pregnant children and those living with HIV,” Prof. Kiama said.
Dr. Sheila Ayuya, a medical officer at Nairobi City County, gave a talk titled; alcohol and drug use and HIV/AIDS
She noted that the use of drugs has been on the rise with heroin being reported to be the most used injecting drug especially at the Coast and in Nairobi.
“It is estimated that over 26,000 people use injecting drugs and are at risk of getting HIV/AIDS because of needle sharing although the trend has gone down because of self-injection.
She also took time to explain how drug and alcohol abuse greatly contribute to HIV transmission and HIV progression.
University Health Services Director Dr. Lucy Muia said organizing communities living with, at risk of or affected by HIV have answers to the HIV puzzle.
She urged the university community and beyond to come together to reach the target of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.