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HIV infections among youths worry experts


Approximately 9,545 adolescents contracted HIV in four counties in 2015, while 771 died of Aids-related complications.

This is according to a report by the National Aids Control Council (NACC) in conjunction with the United Nations International Children’s Fund (Unicef).

The four counties – Migori, Homa Bay, Kisumu and Siaya – contributed to 53 per cent of the total national new infections among adolescents aged 10 to 19 years in the same year.

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Accurate information

The report revealed that eight adolescents contract HIV daily in Homa Bay, a county that has a higher prevalence rate, at 25 per cent, than the national rate that stands at 6 per cent.

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This and other reasons such as early pregnancies has led the Kisumu Medical Education Trust (KMet) to partner with Unicef and others to start a sexual education curriculum.

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The programme seeks to provide learners with age-appropriate, scientifically accurate, non-judgemental and culturally relevant information about sexual and reproductive health.

“As an organisation, we understand that lack of adequate preparation among learners has resulted in increased vulnerability, early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases,” said Sam Owoko, KMet’s project manager.

According to those behind the initiative, if accepted and implemented by the relevant bodies including the Ministry of Education, the sex education programme will reduce misinformation and increase knowledge on sexuality, relationships and HIV.

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“Some girls are told that having sex while standing reduces the chances of getting pregnant,” said Rosemary Obara, the county reproductive health co-ordinator.

Dr Obara said the curriculum would clarify and strengthen positive values and attitudes, improve perceptions about peer groups and social norms, and also increase communication with parents and adults.

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