Parents in Nandi county have been urged to sensitize the youths on HIV/AIDS disease amidst rising cases of infection in the county.
Speaking at Kaptumo Sub-County hospital during a ceremony held to mark World Aids day, Ruth Koech, the Health and Sanitation CEC in Nandi County stated that gender-based violence, poverty and lack of parental guidance were among the major contributors of the spread of HIV in the region
“Every parent or guardian ought to take responsibility in fighting this menace amongst the youths. We have witnessed children who have been neglected as a result of gender-based violence in families and in the end, the minors are subjected to the risk of getting the virus since they are alone and have no parental guidance. Let us be ambassadors in their locality to curb the spread of the disease,” Koech stated.
HIV/AIDS has been a great concern in society with youths and adolescents being the most affected.
On his part, Nandi South Deputy county commissioner Stephen Kavulu stated that the greatest contributor to the disease among youths and adolescents was drug and substance abuse.
He also noted that most of the people aforementioned were not aware of their status posing a threat to themselves and others.
“Drugs and substance abuse impair judgement leading to unprotected sex, or even rape which increases the chances of contracting or spreading sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, I want to warn drug abusers that their days are numbered, we will not tolerate such behaviour negatively affecting our society,” Kavulu warned.
Nandi HIV/Aids Coordinator Richard Sang urged youths and adolescents to abstain from unprotected sex before marriage since most adolescents have no power to negotiate for the use of condoms when trapped by adults with ill motives.
According to Sang, a total of 17,629 people in Nandi have been infected with the virus, females account for the highest number of those infected with 8000 people, males followed with 7,000 and children 624. However, out of the number stated only 13,000 people are religiously taking ARVs.
“In Nandi, we have 2.8 per cent HIV preference. As youths and patents you can act as ambassadors of sensitization to shape our society,” he said.
Sang further urged residents to know their HIV status and seek early treatment if found positive. He also assured residents that the county government had stocked enough medication within government facilities.
“It is advisable that you go for screening to determine your HIV status. If you have the virus please ensure you are on drugs to avoid complications that come with opportunistic infections. With the introduction of ARVs, HIV/AIDS is manageable,” he stated.