The campaign will first be launched in Nairobi, Kisumu and Homa Bay, where high HIV prevalence has been recorded.
Only 55 per cent of Kenyans know their HIV status something the initiative wants to counter. The country’s HIV prevalence rate stands at 5.6 per cent.
“Majority of Kenyans don’t go for testing because if they test positive, people would not want to associate with them,” Director of Medical Services Nicholas Muraguri said.
The campaign will also target churches, market places and sports events to sensitize people on the need of knowing their status as well as to test them.
Those found to be HIV positive will be put on treatment irrespective of their CD4 count, in line with WHO guidelines on HIV treatment, Muraguri said.
“Currently those on treatment have a CD4 count of less than 500.”
Muraguri was speaking during the launch of the Guidelines of the National Plan for Accelerating HIV Care and Treatment in the country.
Currently, 180,000 children in the country are in need of HIV treatment, but only half these are on treatment.
“If they don’t get treatment early enough, half of them die before they turn two years and another 80 per cent die before their fifth birthday.”
“What is shameful is that we have literary treated every adult but the children are not getting treatment. Approximately 850,000 adults are on treatment,” Muraguri added.
The Guidelines, which will be implemented in a period of two years, aims to identify those living with HIV as well provide them with antiretroviral therapy to suppress the virus, which is the ultimate goal of HIV treatment.
The director of Medical Services said soon, individuals will not have to go to a health facility to know their HIV status as the government is introducing self-testing kits.
“Blood tests will continue being used in health facilities. However for the home testing kit, people will use their saliva as it is not right for people to prick themselves while at home.”
He added that the ministry will soon release guidelines on the use of the self-testing kit.