Turkana County joined the global community to mark World AIDS Day, emphasizing the importance of adolescent young people’s (AYP) involvement in addressing HIV infections.
Last year, Turkana AYP who were 10-24 years old accounted for 62% of new HIV infections and constituted 17% of Antenatal clinic (ANC) attendances. This represents 36% of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases in ages 10-17 years.
This year’s theme, “calls for active community participation, as advocates against new HIV infections, particularly among the 10-24 age group.
In his speech, Turkana County Commissioner Jacob Ouma highlighted the country’s significant strides in collaborative efforts to combat stigma and discrimination against individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
He cautioned the youth to adopt preventive measures to minimize the risk of infection of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV and early pregnancies.
The CC advised the parents to guide and engage their children, as they are at home for an extended holiday not to indulge in drug abuse and other related malpractices.
Commissioner Ouma further emphasized the imperative of prompt action. He urged residents to report SGBV cases to ensure a swift and severe punishment for the offenders.
The County Executive for Health and Sanitation, Dr. Francis Mariao, stressed the role of community health promoters and organizations in disseminating health education and providing HTC counseling.
“In collaboration with implementing partners, the county has shown commendable approaches towards reduction of HIV prevalence in the county,” he said.
The County Chief Officer for Preventive and Promotive Health, Peter Lomorukai, highlighted the importance of engaging male youth in medical male circumcision, a measure contributing to a 60% decrease in HIV/AIDS infection.
In 2022, the County Health Department estimated 19,783 persons living with HIV but only 10,708 were on Antiretroviral therapy (ART). The mother-to-child HIV transmission was at 13.5% in 2022, far above the desired 5%.
This year’s “Let Communities Lead” theme emphasizes the vital role of community-led responses working alongside other public healthcare systems to address HIV-related stigma and discrimination, provide HIV prevention education, and support interventions for treatment adherence.
Partner representatives who spoke during the event included Amref Health Africa in Kenya and the National Syndemic Diseases Control Council.
Other representatives were from World Vision Kenya, Kenya Red Cross Society, Echuman Rehab, Maisha Youth, Diocese of Lodwar, USAID Imarisha Jamii, Kenya Literature Bureau, International Rescue Committee, Apese Ere, AIC Health Ministries, and Turkana University College.

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13TH-14TH AUGUST 2024