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Kenya Embraces HIV Survey Results Revealing Reduced New Infections and Sustained Treatment Across the Nation

Apr 8, 2020 | PHIA News

On February 21, 2020, the highly anticipated KENPHIA results were released by the Government of Kenya’s Ministry of Health, with support from U.S. Embassy to Kenya, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ICAP among others.

“KENPHIA 2018 is so timely as it will define the next phase of Kenya’s HIV response,” said Sicily Kariuki, cabinet secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Health, “We are committed, as a government, to continue the path towards HIV epidemic control as a means of achieving universal health coverage.”

The preliminary report noted encouraging findings – new HIV infections among adults, 15-64 years, in Kenya have reduced from an estimated 106,000 new infections in 2012 to 36,000 in 2018. Nearly all – or 91% — adults who were aware of their HIV-positive diagnosis and on treatment had achieved viral load suppression, indicating low levels of virus in their blood. The findings also highlighted that more concerted efforts were needed in improving viral load suppression among children and testing and identifying adults and children living with HIV.

“The KENPHIA preliminary results show just how well HIV response policies and programs in Kenya are doing to address the epidemic,” notes Jessica Justman, Principal Investigator and Senior Technical Director at ICAP. “We look forward to working with the Ministry of Health and PEPFAR colleagues to use KENPHIA data to strengthen policies and programs to close in on epidemic control by 2030.”

“My stepdad had HIV. In my own way of grief, I could tell myself that one day, I knew that I’d go do medicine and then – one way or another – I would just be part of HIV. I saw it fit that I should just join KENPHIA,” said Denis Ongyo, field lab technician in KENPHIA.

For millions of Kenyans like Denis affected by the HIV epidemic, the KENPHIA 2018 results convey that the country is well on its way toward epidemic control.

The Preliminary Report is available at: phia.icap.columbia.edu/countries/Kenya. The final report and public use dataset will be released in the coming months.

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