Globally, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) continues to be a challenge with sub-Saharan Africa remaining the most affected region. However, over the last decade new HIV infections as well as AIDS related deaths have reduced due to implementation of combination HIV prevention interventions and expanded availability and accessibility of life-saving antiretroviral medicines. The UNAIDS 2013 report indicated that new HIV infections decreased by 33% between 2001 and 2012 while AIDs related deaths declined by 30% between 2005 and 2012.
Kenya has made phenomenal achievements in the fight against HIV and AIDS. The HIV incidence rates among adults aged 15-49 years declined from 0.62% in 2000 to 0.44% in 2013 while HIV transmission from mother to child declined from 44,000 in 2000 to 12,940 in 2013. These achievements are attributed to implementation of a mix of behavioural, structural and biomedical interventions that are specific to the needs of different target populations. Safe behaviours have been improved through public education and creating awareness to increase knowledge and skills that favour risk reduction, protection, and uptake of interventions. Laws and policies have been developed to guide on sociocultural norms and practices, economic conditions, gender equity, and reduction of stigma, discrimination, and violence.
Risk of HIV infection has been reduced by: standardizing and providing quality services; adoption of innovative HIV testing and counselling (HTC) models; linking those testing HIV positive to care and timely antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation; prevention and management of co-infections and comorbidities; voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC), and; elimination of mother to child transmission (eMTCT), among others.
In 2013, UNAIDS launched the 90-90-90 targets that are fundamental to acceleration of HIV prevention, care and treatment. According to the targets, by the year 2020: 90% of all PLHIV will know their HIV status; 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV infection will receive sustained ART, and; 90% of all people receiving ART will have durable viral suppression.
The targets are anchored on the HIV care continuum that focuses on strategies to increase HIV diagnosis, linkage into care, retention into care and provision of long term therapy with the aim of achieving viral suppression. Through the Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework (KASF) 2014/15 to 2018/19, Kenya aims to scale-up HIV prevention, care and treatment intervention towards achieving these global targets.
The KASF vision is to have a Kenya free of HIV infections, stigma and AIDS related deaths. The four strategic objectives over the next five years aim at: reducing new HIV infections by 75%; reducing AIDS related mortality by 25%; reducing HIV related stigma and discrimination by 50%, and; increasing domestic financing of the HIV response to 50%. This will be achieved through strengthening health and community systems; facilitating access to services using human rights based approach and; promoting research, innovation and use of strategic information management.
In line with Kenya’s constitution, the counties play a major role in achievement of KASF targets.
The objectives for the forum are
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