The HIV prevalence among People who Inject Drugs (PWIDs) is high; at 18.3 percent for men and 44.5 percent for women compared to the general population’s prevalence of 5.6.
HIV prevalence is also high among PWIDs who share needles; at 31 percent compared to 5 percent who do not.
In a press release on Thursday by the Ministry of Health, Mental Health Unit ahead of commemoration of the International Day against Drug Abuse (IDADA) on June 22, Dr. Catherine Syengo noted that listening to children and youth was the first step to helping them grow healthy and safe.
The theme for this year’s celebration is Listen First and is geared to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science as an effective investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities.
Dr. Syengo noted that despite Kenya having only five Medically Assisted Therapy (MAT) clinics with coverage of over 3, 000 clients, expansion plans are underway. Needle exchange programs and other harm reduction strategies have also been expanded, she said.
IDADA is celebrated each year to strengthen global action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global burden of disease attributable to alcohol and illicit drug use amounts to 5.4 percent.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug report 2017, five percent of the global adult population used drugs at least once in 2015 and 29.5 million of those drug users suffered from drug use disorder.
This means they may experience drug dependence and require treatment.
Data at the Ministry of Health indicates that there were estimated 23, 978 People who Inject Drugs (PWID) in Kenya.
The NACADA 2017 National survey on alcohol and drug abuse also showed that 18.2 percent of persons aged 15-65 years of age were currently using at least one substance of abuse and six percent were using multiple substances.
The National IDADA event will be celebrated on June 26at the Tononoka Grounds, Mombasa County.
Source: Kenya News Agency