Success Story – August 2016
August is when the world marks the international youth day and for NEPHAK, it was time to reflect on the plight of youth and adolescents. This is because adolescents and young people are the population that is both most at risk of HIV and also most affected with AIDS in Kenya. The 2015 Kenya HIV Estimates report a national HIV prevalence of 5.9% with nearly half of all new HIV infections (46%) being in young women and men between 15 and 24 years with two-thirds of these in girls and young women. HIV infections in adolescents have not declined at the expected rate and continue to be high with 49 new HIV infections every day in the 15-19 year olds (72% in girls).
Yet, the threat is not just about HIV. There are other sexual and reproductive health risks which calls for an urgent need for integrated comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and HIV services. Young people need HIV services and other sexual and reproductive health services. This cannot happen without the active engagement and leadership of adolescents and young people. Strengthening the leadership of young people occupied much of NEPHAK focus in August. Attention and support was given to the Sauti Skika Adolescents Network.
With the support of the Elizabeth Glazer Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), UNICEF Kenya and ICAP, the Sauti Skika Adolescents Network established its first County Chapter in Kisumu Siaya Counties. These County Chapters, complete with young people’s leadership will be part of the national adolescents and young people’s network under the Sauti Skika. Hosted at NEPHAK, the Sauti Skika hopes to secure the active and meaningful engagement of adolescents and young people affected and infected with HIV in the HIV prevention, care, treatment and support initiatives in Kenya.