Health stakeholders in Kilifi County have expressed their fear, after the transmission of HIV virus from mother to child will increase this year 2023.
Speaking to journalists in Kilifi, the reproductive health coordinator Mr Kenneth Miriti explained that the infection is increasing due to the increase in young mothers who give birth while they are still in school and are afraid to come forward when they are diagnosed with AIDS.
“The people who are most affected are the teenagers and mothers who have not passed the age of 24 but are suffering from AIDS. They are afraid to come out openly because of the stigma at that age,” said Mr Miriti.
He explained that it is common these days to see a girl who has been infected with the virus but does not want to explain or does not want to be known in the community that she has HIV, so she cannot give her child medicine properly and cannot follow up at the clinic.
According to the reproductive health department in Kilifi County, 30 cases have been witnessed as of June 2023, a period of only eight months registering five children who have acquired the infection from their parents.
“At the national level, statistics show that we have 11.2 percent like Kenya, but in Kilifi County we are a little lower with 8.3 percent and that is a good thing to show that the infection is not too much here compared to other parts of the country,” he said.
He said that the sad thing is that in September 2023 they found five cases of infection in that one month.
“If we don’t put strategies in place, we may have more infections because that shows that the infection is going up,” said Mr Miriti.
However, the department has pointed out that the government has already started to fight the situation by using counselor mothers who have experienced the same situation to ensure that mothers living with HIV protect the child during pregnancy and even when she gives birth.