HIV patients raise concerns on coronavirus

Medics test protective gear at Mbagathi Hospital during the launch of an isolation and treatment centre for the new coronavirus in Nairobi on March 6, 2020. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Mr Erick Okioma, a member of the National Empowerment Network of People living with HIV and Aids in Kenya, cautions against sidelining the group with underlying health conditions.

A section of people living with HIV and Aids have called on the government to make urgent interventions to safeguard them from adverse effects of the new coronavirus.

They accused the government of neglecting the vulnerable group facing the risk of severe illness from the virus, due to their compromised immune system.

Mr Erick Okioma, a member of the National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV and Aids in Kenya, cautioned against sidelining the group with underlying health conditions.

“The government should involve us as a critical measure of controlling the spread of coronavirus that is already causing havoc in most parts of the world,” he said.

Mr Okioma said that they have not been engaged despite being more likely to suffer life-threatening complications.

Ms Carren Omanga of Nyando Constituency Aids Control Committee, however, warned that restricting movement of people to in order to contain the virus could lead to a number of people living with HIV/Aids defaulting on anti-retroviral treatment.

She said that some HIV/Aids patients have already started expressing worries over access to essential drugs.

“The anticipated lockdown has created panic among some people who have appointments to collect their life-sustaining drugs,” she said.

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