Desperation for HIV patients after US suspends life-saving drug

The fight to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS in Kenya has now proved even more difficult.

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HIV patients in the country have been dealt a big blow after it emerged that the Kenyan government has been hit with a shortage of funds to fight the disease.

In a report published by the National Aids Control Council (NACC) the country is short of at least $597.6 (Sh62 billion) to deal with the burden of HIV /AIDS in Kenya’s 47 counties.

The worrying report shows that Nairobi leads among the counties with the funds deficit standing at Sh3.3 billion, signaling the hard task ahead in managing HIV patients and curbing new infections.

Homabay comes in second in the county short of funds with a Sh2.27 billion resource gap while Kisumu follows closely at Sh2.17 billion.

As at 2015, at least 897,644 adults were on the national ARV treatment programme, an increase from 656,359 people living with HIV in 2013.

The report comes in the wake of the US government’s suspension of funding to the Health Ministry following corruption at the State Department.

The US serves as Kenya’s largest foreign donor with suspension to the Health Ministry amounting to Sh2.2 billion.

Local funding for HIV remains a huge challenge that needs to be addressed so as to provide integrated health services to the vulnerable.

That said, the Network of People Living with HIV and Aids in Kenya (Nephak) said that a number of Kenyans have stopped taking ARVs due to lack of food supplements provided by the government.

Kenya is however identifying options for long-term financing of the HIV/AIDS costs through the creation of a fund that will complement resources from the Exchequer.

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