Saturday, March 2, 2024

Why Kisumu is conducting HIV tests on pregnant mothers only

Inadequate HIV test kits in Kisumu County is hurting the fight against the virus.

HIV Programming Coordinator for Kisumu Central Sub County Dorothy Oketch says what is available is only enough for testing of pregnant mothers visiting the pre-natal clinics at health facilities.

“This is a national challenge that has persisted over the last one year and Kisumu feels the burden just like the rest of the country,” she said.

This is a national challenge that has persisted over the last one year and Kisumu feels the burden just like the rest of the country

Ms Oketch

The lack of enough test kits has affected testing services among risky populations as what is available has been reserved for pregnant mothers in a clear bias for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT).

Kisumu County ranks second after Homa Bay in HIV prevalence with a rate of 17.5 per cent against the national prevalence rate of 4.2 per cent.

Health Caffe’

Ms Oketch spoke during a health journalists’ café organized by the Media for Environment Science Health and Agriculture (MESHA) in Kisumu over the weekend.

On Viral Load Suppression targets, she said that while women easily attained suppression, men registered lower figures due to their poor health seeking behaviors.

Adolescents have also recorded low figures on VL suppression.

HIVST is well positioned to address HIV diagnosis gaps by promoting access to HTS because it assures privacy, it is convenient and helps reduce stigma

Ms Oketch

The county is promoting HIV Self Testing (HIVST) as a way of scaling up the uptake of HIV Testing Services (HTS).

“HIVST is well positioned to address HIV diagnosis gaps by promoting access to HTS because it assures privacy, it is convenient and helps reduce stigma,” she added.

Between 2006 and 2017, Kenya has had over 25 studies on the performance of HIVST with results showing that it is widely accepted across all populatipons.

Testers are capable of doing both oral fluid and blood based testing.

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