REPORT: Female Students More Likely to Contact HIV than Male Counterparts

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HIV jkuat
Civil rights activists march in Durban, South Africa, Monday, July 18, 2016, at the start of the 21st World Aids Conference. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Monday that the gains the world has made against AIDS are "inadequate and fragile." He said more than half the people around the world infected with HIV, or 20 million people, still don't have access to treatment. (AP Photo)

More than 1.5 Million people have been estimated to be HIV positive in Kenya. This according to the report on the State of HIV and AIDS in Kenya, the population has slightly increased from last year’s figures.

According to the UNAIDS Gap report 2016, Kenya has the joint fourth-largest HIV epidemic in the world (alongside Mozambique and Uganda), in terms of the number of people living with HIV, which was 1.6 million people in 2013. Roughly 58,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in the same year although this dropped by 32% between 2009 and 2013. There are now 1.1 million children orphaned by AIDS.

The epidemic whose first case was detected in 1984 is now a major problem even in universities. Reports indicate that the most affected age group is 18 to 29 years with the highest of the population being on campus.

Even though the HIV epidemic is often generalized, in recent years, a number of studies have identified concentrated epidemics among certain groups who are particularly vulnerable to HIV transmission. Consequently the results show disparity in new infections interms of gender. The reports say,females are more likely to contact the virus than their male counterparts.

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In campus, it is estimated that 3 out of 10 students are HIV positive. It is also estimated that close to 10% of female students engage in sex work/prostitution. Even though many students know about abstinence and use of protection during sexual intercourse, cases of new infections is still on the rise. Over the past six months, the media has published news items of students coming up with a list of names of individuals that they think they might have infected over a certain period of time.

At Kenyatta University, unverified reports showed that a bitter female student allegedly infected more than 200 students within a span of 2 years. Other campuses with such cases in Kenya have been Egerton, Maseno, Moi, Masinde Muliro, JKUAT and University of Nairobi.

The reports released by UNAIDS also show that the rate of infection and prevalence to HIV in universities varies with the institution’s location. Students in campuses situated in the Western Kenya region are said to be at a higher risk of infection. Two years ago, reports showed that Maseno university was the most affected with the new cases of infections.

The universities have already started programs that are aimed at reducing the rates of infection. At Egerton university, students take part in a volunteer program that entails sex education, family planning, open forum discussions and distribution of condoms.

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