Alarm as 47 per cent of those with HIV in Narok shun ARV treatment

Narok Governor Mr Patrick Ntutu (center)commissioning Suswa Dispensary in Narok East Sub-County on December 1, 2022. Concern has been raised as 47 per cent of persons living with HIV/AIDS were shunning ARV treatments.

Photo credit: Robert Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

A red flag has been raised as 47 per cent of HIV patients in Narok are shunning antiretroviral treatments, exposing their partners to infections.

Statistics from the Narok health department show that over 20,000 people have HIV and about 9,000 are not on ARVs.

Only 11,000 people (53 per cent) were on drugs, raising the risk of new infections to unsuspecting members of the public, said area HIV treatment coordinator Dickson Ole Nengusei.

The majority of those avoiding treatment were men, Mr Nengusei said.

HIV prevalence in Narok per sub-county is as follows: Trans Mara West, leads with 4.2 per cent, Narok North (2.6 per cent) and Trans Mara East and Narok East (1.4 per cent each).

The statistics were announced at Nairegie Enkare Primary School in Narok East during commemorations of World Aids Day that were attended by Narok Governor Patrick Ntutu and his deputy Tamalinye Koech.

Some 26 per cent of young people in the county aged 10-14 engage in unprotected sex, putting them at risk of HIV infection, Mr Nengusei said.

Another 23 per cent aged 15-19 also do not use protection during sex.

The county is among the leaders in Kenya in teenage pregnancies, with 741 girls reportedly pregnant, including 248 KCPE and KCSE candidates.

On mother to child HIV transmission, Mr Nengusei said this affected 11.2 per cent of mothers in the county, far above the global target of 5 per cent.

Governor Ntutu asked parents to speak openly about HIV and Aids to their children and urge them to avoid unprotected sex.

“It is regrettable that our county is leading in teenage pregnancy at 40 per cent. About 248 candidates sat for their national examinations when pregnant. This is so disturbing,” he said.

Mr Ntutu pledged to form a committee to investigate the root cause of the problem.