Confusion over HIV prevalence rates
Sunday 28 March 2004
Home About PlusNews Country Profiles News Briefs Special Reports Subscribe Archive IRINnews

Regions

Africa
East Africa
Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Southern Africa
West Africa
Weekly

Sections

Country Profiles
Conferences / Research
Job opportunities

News Briefs

ZAMBIA: Reduce TB cases with increased AIDS treatment - WHO
AFRICA: Circumcision may cut AIDS risk - study
MALAWI: Maize harvest ravaged by AIDS and drought
PlusNews E-mail Subscription

KENYA: Confusion over HIV prevalence rates

JOHANNESBURG, 13 January (PLUSNEWS) - Findings from a government survey released last week showed that Kenya may have a lower HIV prevalence rate than was previously thought, but activists warned the situation on the ground had not changed.

The preliminary report of the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey found there were fewer people living with HIV/AIDS than projected - 6.7 percent compared to the 9.4 percent estimated by UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation for 2003. Up to 3,000 households were tested for HIV in the study, which is used to plan government health policies.

In a statement on Tuesday, UNAIDS described last week's news reports claiming that their figures were "overestimated", as unfounded.

"When broken down by gender, the survey found an HIV prevalence of 8.7 percent among women, which is in the same range as the 9.4 percent prevalence estimated by UNAIDS and WHO," UNAIDS said in the statement.

But to people working in communities at grassroots level, the debate about these statistics was of no use, ActionAid national HIV/AIDS coordinator, Ludfine Anyango Opudo, told PlusNews.

"The reality on the ground is that we are not seeing any figures going down. While the researchers and scientists argue about numbers, people are still dying every day," she said.

Opudo warned that people could be lulled into a "false sense of security" by the "confusing" statistics. She called on government authorities to continue with their awareness campaigns.

The acting director of Kenya's National AIDS Council, Dr Patrick Orege, agreed. "The prevalence is still high - obviously there's a need for caution. People should not change their safe behaviour, and they should not slacken," he said.

This was the first time HIV prevalence statistics had been collected from the general population in Kenya, and also included more rural areas, he noted.

"Although household surveys have the advantage of including men and non-pregnant women, and include more rural sites, a common problem of such surveys is the low participation rate. For example, in this study, 30 percent refused testing," UNAIDS said in the statement.

The final demographic and health survey is scheduled for release in May 2004.

[ENDS]

Recent KENYA Reports

Focus on primary schools coping with HIV-positive pupils, 16/Feb/04
Bridging the reproductive health gap for girls in Nairobi slums, 14/Jan/04
HIV/AIDS - "People's Tribunal" demands access to life, 23/Sep/03
Activists demand better access to antiretrovirals, 19/Sep/03
Corruption allegations plague AIDS body, 1/Sep/03

PARTNERS

PlusNews is produced under the banner of RHAIN, the Southern African Regional HIV/AIDS Information Network. RHAIN's members currently include:

  • UNAIDS

  • IRIN

  • Inter Press Service (IPS)

  • SAfAIDS

  • PANOS

  • Health Systems Trust

  • Health & Development
    Network

  • GTZ/Afronets


[Back] [Home Page]

Click to send any feedback, comments or questions you have about IRIN's Website or if you prefer you can send an Email to

The material contained on this Web site comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post any item on this site, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All graphics and Images on this site may not be re-produced without the express permission of the original owner. All materials copyright UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004