HIV and AIDS
Protecting children and adolescents from HIV and AIDS and providing care
The number of children living with HIV in Kenya fell from 180,000 in 2010 to 111,500 in 2020, partly due to improved access to services, including for more pregnant women. However, infection rates among young people (15-24) remain concerning. In 2020, they accounted for 35 per cent of new infections, with two thirds of cases among young women. In Homa Bay, one of the worst-affected counties, gender inequality, difficulties in accessing services and poverty are fueling high rates of unintended pregnancies and HIV.
UNICEF supports the Government of Kenya’s national and sub-national HIV response, targeting the first and second decades of a child’s life. This covers the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, as well as paediatric HIV treatment and care, and adolescent HIV prevention, care and treatment.
UNICEF works with other UN agencies and partners to ensure that life-saving HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care interventions are widely available and accessible to infants, children, adolescents and their parents. Integrated approaches are key to the delivery of these interventions.
UNICEF works closely with civil society to engage adolescents and young people and amplify their voices on issues that affect them. We advocate for better services and adolescent-centred programming and promote behaviour change, including encouraging more young people to seek health services. We use digital and other platforms to improve adolescents' sexual and reproductive health knowledge. We involve young people in decision-making, including as advisory members and health managers. These young people empower their own peers to become more involved in issues concerning their health.
UNICEF is supporting Ministry of Health guidance on ensuring the continuity of HIV services for children and adolescents. We are assisting county governments to provide information on continuity of HIV services for children and adolescents, including via mentor mothers, community health volunteers and Youth Advisory Councils. We also procured personal protective equipment (PPEs) for frontline health care workers who provide HIV testing services.
HIV and AIDS in numbers
The number of children living with HIV fell from 180,000 in 2010 to 111,500 in 2020.
In Homa Bay, young people aged 15-24 contribute 13% of the total number of HIV infections.
In 2020, UNICEF supported HIV counselling services for 83,000 children and youth.
With UNICEF’s support, 3.2 million young social media users were reached with messages on sexual and reproductive health, in 2020.