Kenya AIDS Crisis.

Country Overview

Kenya is a former British colony in East Africa populated by a collection of diverse native tribes. The nation's beautiful landscape and tropical climate is an ideal home for African wildlife, including lions, leopards, buffalo, rhinoceros, and elephant.

Poverty is a major concern in Kenya. More than half of the country's population falls below the poverty line, subsisting on less than a dollar per person per day. Half of Kenya's population is children under the age of 18 (Source: Kenya National AIDS and STI Control Programme).

While primary public school education is free, many children are unable to attend. Some are forced to help provide for the family or care for a family member. Others lack basic needs like food, clothes, or feminine products to make school attendance possible. Even for those who are able to attend, school conditions, particularly in rural areas, often are deficient of books, materials, and even running water. Secondary school education is not free and requires passing scores on a national examination, resulting in low attendance rates.

HIV Prevalence

At nearly 8%, HIV prevalence in Kenya is among the highest in the world and continues to grow. While advances have been made to educate Kenyans on the dangers of HIV, many still do not view the threat of HIV to be a considerable risk. Over 80% of Kenyans with HIV are unaware they have the virus. Only half of Kenyans admit using condoms (Source: 2007 Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey).

The crisis remains worst in rural areas, where more than two-thirds of all Kenyans living with HIV reside. In Embu District, headquarters of Huruma's Kenyan operations, HIV prevalence is 26% (Source: Kenya National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development). Over 30% of Kenyans in rural areas remain unaware of the HIV status, unwilling to travel long distances for testing (Source: 2007 KAIS).

AIDS Orphans

Between 11-13%, or about 2.5 million, of the children under the age 15 in Kenya are orphans (Source: NASCOP). Of those, more than 1.5 million were orphaned by AIDS.

Nearly one out of ten pregnant women is infected with HIV in Kenya, where 1 in 3 infant deaths can be attributed to AIDS (Source: NASCOP). The survivors make up the estimated 150,000 children living with HIV reside in the country (Source: World Vision).

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