Mombasa, Kenya – Government to provide free HIV services for people who inject drugs.
Heroin users will soon have access to free HIV prevention and treatment.
The Kenyan Government currently takes bold and innovative measures to reduce HIV transmission among risk populations. The comprehensive package for HIV prevention among people who inject drugs is a significant step forward in this process.
Kenya started to decentralize drug dependence treatment to 12 outpatient centres in Mombasa. The same model will be adopted in other regions. HIV testing and counselling will be available to drug users.
The 2009 Government Modes of Transmission Study recognized HIV among sex workers and their clients, men who have sex with men, people in prisons, and people who inject drugs, as a significant driver of the HIV epidemic, contributing over 33% to all new infections.
The UNAIDS family has advised the National AIDS Control Council and governmental agencies to adopt the comprehensive package for HIV prevention among people who inject drugs, which includes substitution treatment and needle and syringe programmes.
UNODC will provide training for 700 health professionals and civil society workers in HIV services for people who inject drugs.
The National AIDS Control Council convened a national stakeholders meeting for government, civil society, and key bilateral and international organizations. An action plan to address HIV prevention was adopted. The comprehensive package for HIV prevention was endorsed by a workshop for members of parliament, also convened by the National Council.
Given the high demand, the Kenya Red Cross provides medicines for 10,000 drug users for the next 3 months through the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry of Medical Services is preparing a rapid capacity building plan and additional training will be provided to health staff in the next weeks.
People who use drugs and their families were encouraged by the Provincial Commissioner to come forward and ask for treatment.