VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
World AIDS Day: Fighting HIV/AIDS in Kenya
December 1, 2010 by Kate Sands Adams
|A youth advocacy group uses theater to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS among refugees living in the Kakuma Refugee Camp, in Kenya's remote Turkana district. Photo: Matija Kovac/The IRC|
Today is World AIDS Day. International Rescue Committee programs all over the world are marking the day with awareness-raising activities about preventing the spread of HIV and supporting people living with the disease.
Here are just a few facts about AIDS:
- Almost three decades after the first cases of AIDS were recorded, nearly 30 million people have died of HIV-related causes.
- A total of 33 million people now live with HIV/AIDS. Two million of them are under the age of 15.
- More than two-thirds of all people living with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa — including 90 percent of the world’s HIV-positive children.
In Kenya, where the IRC assists refugees and local communities, HIV/AIDS has always been viewed as a scourge of cities -- so it hasn't been acknowledged as a problem in rural areas such as Turkana, a remote, northwestern district bordering Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia.
However, Turkana has reported some of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the country in the past decade. Because most people living in Turkana are nomadic herders who live in isolated areas and move frequently, reaching them with HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and clinical care presents a real challenge.
IRC volunteer Matija Kovac documented the IRC's work fighting HIV/AIDS in Turkana for a new report -- he shared these photos.