By Samuel Ouma
A study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome has discovered that thousands of Kenyan men live with HIV without knowing.
The research was conducted by Kenya’s National Aids and STIs Control Programme and US Centre for Disease Control in Kenya.
Researchers found out that 33.7 per cent of 114,776 men interviewed and tested for HIV in Kenya and 12 other countries are HIV positive and not aware.
The study further found that 63 per cent of those unaware of their HIV positive status had never been tested for the virus.
The number of Kenyan women going for HIV tests is higher than those of men. Statistics show that in the last 12 months, almost 72 per cent of women were tested for the virus compared to 45 per cent of men.
“The results from this large sample suggest that many men in sub-Saharan Africa are likely unaware of their HIV-positive status due to the compounding effects of sociodemographic, behavioural and clinical influences,” read part of the study.
The researchers have proposed partner testing, frequency of testing, outreach and educational strategies and availability of HIV testing where men are accessing routine health services to improve the yielding of testing programmes.
“Increased access to and frequency of HIV testing is needed to identify undetected infection in men including in settings where they are accessing services for TB and voluntary medical male circumcision,” they added.
The data from the Ministry of Health shows that Siaya(21 per cent), Homabay (20.7 per cent), Kisumu (16.3 per cent), Migori (13.3 per cent) and Busia (7.7 per cent) have a higher prevalence of HIV infection.
Nairobi County is also among the top ten counties.