The World Bank has pledged to provide 10 billion Kenyan shillings, or about $1.5 billion, during the next four years for HIV/AIDS programs in Kenya, the country's Special Programs Minister John Munyes said Sunday during a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Nation/AllAfrica.com reports. He added that other donors are expected to provide an additional 10 billion shillings toward fighting the epidemic. The Kenyan government is expected to distribute 30 billion shillings, or about $4.5 million, to the National AIDS Control Council for community-based AIDS programs, Munyes said (Nation/AllAfrica.com, 6/25).
In related news, NACC Chair Miriam Were recently announced that the number of new HIV cases in Kenya declined from 85,000 in 2004 to 60,000 in 2005, Reuters reports. Were added that HIV prevalence declined from 6.1% to 5.9% during the same period. According to Reuters, officials said the reduction is because of wider access to antiretroviral drugs, increased condom use and a reduction in risky sexual behavior. The government has set a goal of reducing HIV prevalence to less than 5.5% by 2010, Reuters reports (Reuters, 6/25). "The active and collaborative involvement of a wide range of partners -- including public and private sectors, civil society organizations, faith-based community and donors, under the coordination of the National Aids Control Council -- is undoubtedly a factor in Kenya's success to date," Were said. Munyes said, "Apart from reduction in prevalence, the government also wants to reduce the rate of new infections, which we view as a better measure for success in the war against AIDS." According to Munyes, the country prevented 39,132 deaths in 2005 as a result of increased access to antiretrovirals, and the number of averted deaths is "expected to grow as we increase treatment" access. He said the number of deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in Kenya is about 115,000 annually, or 150 deaths daily (Nation/AllAfrica.com, 6/25). "Although we have made impressive progress in fighting AIDS, we still face a big challenge ahead of us," Munyes said (Reuters, 6/25).
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