HIV and AIDS
Protecting children and adolescents from HIV and AIDS
In 2018, the about 11 in every 100 children born to mothers living with HIV got infected with HIV, translating to approximately 8000 new infections amongst children.
Kenya’s HIV prevalence has reduced over the years to 4.9%, However these rates remain disproportionately higher among women. Although new infections have significantly reduced over the past few years, children, adolescents and young people especially women remain vulnerable to new infections. In 2018, the about 11 in every 100 children born to mothers living with HIV got infected with HIV, translating to approximately 8000 new infections amongst children. One in three new HIV infections occurred among adolescents. Although significant effort has been made towards meeting the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets (90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression) children and adolescents are left behind. There remains work to do in preventing new HIV infections and in preventing AIDS-related deaths amongst children, adolescents, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
UNICEF works with the Government of Kenya’s national HIV response across two programming streams targeting the first decade (dual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis and paediatric HIV treatment and care) and the second decade (Adolescent HIV prevention, care and treatment). Capitalizing on its comparative advantage in informing, convening, advocating, innovating, integrating and leveraging strategic partnerships leading to a strengthened HIV response at both national and sub-national level.
UNICEF works with the Government of Kenya in strategies aimed at attaining equitable HIV diagnostics for infants exposed to HIV through Point-of-Care technologies. Through advocacy, evidence generation and convening of stakeholders, there was increased demand for innovative technology in HIV diagnostics that led to timely identification and initiation of treatment for infants living with HIV.
UNICEF works with sister UN agencies, and other partners to ensure that life-saving HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care interventions are widely available and accessible to infants, children, adolescents and their mothers and fathers. Key to the delivery of these interventions through integrated approaches with Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH), and enhancing multisectoral responses especially to enhance adolescent and young people’s programming.
UNICEF works closely with civil society organizations including meaningful engagement of adolescents and young people themselves in amplifying their voices on issues that affect them. UNICEF’s Kenya uses an “ABCDE” approach to meaningful engagement of young people led to capacity enhancement in four key areas: Advocacy for better services and adolescent-centered programming; Behaviour change interventions including improved health seeking behaviour amongst peers; Communication and enhance comprehensive knowledge through various platforms including digital platforms; Decision-making where young people are engaged as advisory members and liaise communities of young people with health managers; Empower other young people to be involved in matters concerning their and wellness.
UNICEF in Action by 2018
UNICEF together with partners supported the Government of Kenya in reaching over 100,000 children and adolescents 0 – 19 years with life-saving antiretroviral therapy.
1 million adolescents and young people were reached through innovative programming using technology, social media, sports, creative arts and popular culture to enhance HIV prevention, care and treatment knowledge and linkage to services.
70% of HIV-exposed infants who had access to a confirmatory HIV test, received it before the age of 2 months.
Through UNICEF’s support, over 100,000 adolescents (10 – 19 years) were reached through innovative programmes that providing targeted interventions for prevention, care and treatment of HIV.