World AIDS Day

My town, Funyula, hosted our district’s World AIDS Day program this past December 1st. I joined the planning committee with the Districts leaders in HIV prevention programming and care services of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).

My Uncle Aaron passed away more than 10 years ago from AIDS. I distinctly remember the cabinet lined with pill bottles, his muscular frame dwindle to the average weight of a 16 year old girl then pick up again then dwindle again; it was an absolutely crazy thing to witness.

I was honored to work on this program…in his memory.

At the program there was a group who sang and danced comprised of PLWHA none of which you would ever assume on appearance alone. I visited the hospital and spoke to the pharmacist to ask what medication they were giving their patients. There were 3 potential therapies and when he showed me the 1st therapy option he pulled out 2 bottles. I would not be exaggerating if I said my uncle took at least 20 different medications in a day.

There have been incredible improvements made in treating this disease.

Don’t misunderstand me the HIV/AIDS rate in Kenya is insane. An average of 6% of people in Kenya is infected with an estimate of 60, 000-140,000 new infections per year. The statistics for fishermen and distant truck drivers are absolutely insane, from memory I want to say about 1:6 people in this population are infected.

There’s a long way to go to reach the goal of zero new infections by 2030. If the program’s success was any indication we are hopefully moving in that direction.

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