'Kenya will not relent on fight against AIDS'

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- The Kenya Government has stepped up the fight against HI V/AIDS to reduce its prevalence rate in the country, President Mwai Kibaki said late Tuesday.
Speaking at his Harambee House office in Nairobi when he met with the Executive Director of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Michel Sidibe, President Kibaki said his Government is tackling the war against HIV/AID S as part of Kenya â?s national medium and long term development strategy.
â?Indeed, Kenya is responding positively to the epidemic and has heavily invest ed in HIV prevention and treatment,â? President Kibaki said.
The President is, however, making a passionate plea to Kenyans not to relax but upscale the fight against HIV/AIDS at personal level.
â?Government can help in the fight, however, individuals must continue to make deliberate choices to keep HIV/AIDS at bay by being responsible and taking personal decisions fully aware of the reality and dangers of the disease,â?â? said the President.
He reassured that there is strengthened and renewed political commitment in the fight against the disease, citing the effective prevention of mother to child transmission and the aggressive campaign to place more Kenyans suffering f rom the disease on anti-retroviral drugs.
The President pointed out that the Government is committed to enacting a Nationa l AIDS Control Agency Act before the end of 2010 to strengthen coordination and accountability for resources.
On his part, Sidibe thanked Kenya for supporting the campaign that led to his a ppointment as the Executive Director of UNAIDS.
He commended Kenya â?s HIV/AIDS programmes, saying coordination among various A IDS agencies in the country is going on well.
Noting that more people are dying of AIDS in Africa than in the developed countr ies, Sidibe expressed the need for concerted efforts to address the inequality.
In order to accelerate the attainment of the Governmentâ?s target of ensuring t hat 80 per cent of Kenyans know their HIV status, the Government and partners have over the last three years held national HIV testing campaigns, popularly known as Jitambue Campaign.
During the 2009 national HIV testing campaign, the Government succeeded in excee ding the target of testing one million Kenyans over a three week period in November and December.
Today, it is estimated that over 40 per cent of adult Kenyans have tested for HI V, making the country one of the few countries in sub Saharan Africa to have reached that level.

13 january 2010 11:20:00

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