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International News

Kenya: A Phone Call Could Provide HIV/AIDS Treatment

July 13, 2011

Civil society in Kenya is considering various ways of sustaining and expanding antiretroviral treatment (ART) programs, including a tax on cellphone users.


Currently, donors provide more than 90 percent of the funds used to supply ART to Kenyans. The Japanese government, a major donor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, announced two months ago it intends to scale back its contribution following the recent earthquake and tsunami. Pediatric HIV treatment and efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission are funded solely by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

James Kamau of the nongovernmental group Kenya Treatment Access Movement said cellphone taxes are being considered because nearly all other sectors are overtaxed. "What we are asking for is a 10 Kenyan-cent (US $0.001) levy for every phone call made from the country," he said.

"If the proposal finds favor among the lawmakers, then the funds raised from such levies will go a long way to scale up the number of Kenyans living with HIV/AIDS who need to be enrolled [in ART], and sustain treatment in case the donors pull out or reduce funding," explained Kamau.

In Kenya, an estimated 1.4 million people are living with HIV and of these, 760,000 have fully developed AIDS. Just 343,000 Kenyans with HIV/AIDS can currently access ART.

Back to other news for July 2011

Adapted from:
Inter Press Service
06.08.2011; Isaiah Esipisu

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
HIV/AIDS Treatment in Kenya

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