By: Ian Imbaiza and Dishon Amanya
The Deputy County Commissioner of Sirisia Sub County in Bungoma County Henry Katana, the Regional Coordinator National Aid Control Stephen Kataka, the County Health Management team and residents from Sirisia Sub-County united to show support for people living with HIV/AIDS and to remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
Each World AIDS Day focuses on a specific theme, with this year’s theme targeting Ending inequalities, End AIDS. End Pandemics. This year’s theme joins a growing list of challenges that World AIDS Day has alerted people globally.
Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever International Day for global health. Every year, United Nations agencies, governments and civil society join together to campaign around specific themes related to HIV/AIDS.
Speaking to the Press, the Regional Coordinator National Aids control council Stephen Kataka said that everybody not only in Bungoma County but nationally should understand that HIV/AIDS still exists.
“We have approximated 31,640 people in Bungoma County who are living with HIV/AIDS. Kanduyi Sub County leading in all the Sub-counties in Bungoma.” Kataka reiterated.
Kataka added to his sentiment that only 2,210 people are taking the ARVs out of the total 31,640 people infected by HIV and AIDs. He called upon those who are infected by the virus to come out of the dark and receive guidance and counseling on their health status.
Kataka also warned those who are taking advantage of the children to stop impregnating school going children and later infecting them with HIV virus.
“Let children be children for they are the future of this country. In 2020 to date 6,086 school going children got pregnant in Bungoma” he said.
Samuel Baraza Musemwa, father of two daughters and one son explained he tested HIV positive in the year 2006 but later he accepted the situation and stuck to medication till to date.
“When my relatives found out that I was HIV positive, they planned for my burial before my death. No one wanted to interact with me in the community. Today I thank God for keeping me alive, with the help of my children and my wife who tested negative, I managed to live this far ” Baraza said.
Baraza also called upon those who have not been tested to be tested so that they may know their HIV status.
There is still a critical need for increased funding for the AIDS response, to increase awareness of the impact of HIV on people’s lives, to end stigma and discrimination and to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV.
The spread of HIV and AIDs in Bungoma County has reduced to 2.2% percent compared to 2018-2020 which was 3.2%.