As the Health ministry witnesses a decline of HIV/AIDS infections during the Covid-19 period, concerns are raised over the risks posed to people living positive due to poor diet.
Coast region health stakeholders wants county governments to intervene and help the vulnerable community with foodstuffs or income generation ventures to cushion them from poor diets as the underlying health factor puts them at risk of dying, if they contact Covid-19.
Speaking at the Mvita Sub-county Clinic during distribution of foodstuffs to benefit about 100 youth infected with HIV/Aids in Mvita, officials drawn from Dream Achievers Youth Organisation-DAYO and Aids healthcare foundation AHF are concerned that HIV/AIDS victims are at risk during this Covid-19 period due to poor diets.
DAYO Project Coordinator Enos Opiyo said the initiative targets 300 HIV/Aids victims in Mombasa to mitigate the ills of poor nutrition.
According to Mr. Opiyo, HIV patients are the most at risk.
On his part, AHF Coast regional prevention program coordinator Joseph Wachira said it’s important that young people living with HIV are heard, in order to support them with interventions that will lessen the impact of COVID-19.
“People with HIV are viewed as potentially vulnerable, through such interventions they can be cushioned from the disease by giving them foods rich in vitamins,” Wachira said.
Mvita Sub-county medical officer Dr. Khadija Awadh said the relief food will be distributed to all Sub-county hospitals in Mombasa targeting people with HIV.
She said majority of HIV patients had stopped attending hospitals a situation that poses major risk to the healthcare system.
She attributes the decline to fear of contracting Covid-19 as well as stigmatisation from the community.
[Joseph Wachira,AHF Coast regional prevention program coordinator left with Dream Achievers Youth Organisation DAYO executive director Seif Jira during the handover of foodstuffs for youth Living with HIV/AIDS in Mvita. Photo/Haramo Ali].
“We have witnessed decline in search of HIV related services and I think it may be as a result of the fear of contracting the Corona Virus,” said Awadh upon receiving the foodstuffs from DAYO and AHF organizations.
The Ministry of Health records report that Kenya’s rate of HIV/AIDS infection has drastically reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is worried about the risk posed to.
Kenya had 36,000 cases of HIV in 2018, compared to 100,000 in 2012, in what she described as a major gain against the virus.
Currently, the country has some 1.1 million on antiretroviral, but the ministry maintains the gains are threatened because people visiting health facilities had dropped by 30 per cent since March when the Coronavirus pandemic broke out in the country.