The UN has issued an urgent press release. UNAIDS is concerned about effects of violence in Kenya on people living with HIV and potential risk of new HIV infections. Recent violence in Kenya could pose setbacks to AIDS response. ICROSS is reaching thousands of AIDS patients and hundreds of TB patients in desperate need.
“Immediate concerns are for people following antiretroviral treatment regimens, particularly those who have been displaced by the violence or who have not been able to access treatment. There are also concerns that the displacement and violence (including sexual and gender-based violence) has made people more vulnerable to the risk of HIV infection.” ICROSS teams are reaching many people burnt out, with help from Rotary Karen, Consolata Fathers, Colleagues in Italy and India we are sending relief into crisis areas. Emergency assistance has also come from support groups in London and from Kenyans.
However, “Although concerted efforts have been made by the Kenyan authorities and partners to minimize disruption in people accessing antiretroviral treatment and other essential HIV services, we are still very concerned,” said Dr Erasmus Morah, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Kenya.
The UNAIDS statement said, “One of the main concerns over prolonged disruption to antiretroviral treatment and anti-TB treatment is the potential development of resistance to the drugs. There is an urgent need to assess the extent of treatment disruption and adequacy of the current response” ICROSS is launching a needs analysis in all its HIV AIDS operational areas in response to this statement.
UNAIDS also said, “There are also reports of high levels of sexual and gender-based violence, and that disruption to social and family networks has forced some women and children to engage in commercial and transactional sex in exchange for shelter, food or protection.” Our teams have reported widespread abuse and injury and with thousands of homes destroyed there is urgent need of immediate response.