Between 2003 and 2007, out of 34.3 million Kenyans, over one million aged 15 and 49 years were HIV positive. In 2008, it was estimated that 1,500,000 Kenyans were living with HIV/AIDS. Approximately 85,000 Kenyans died from the disease. Mortality rates are expected to rise and perhaps peak at some point in the near future, as persons infected during the late 1990s, perhaps being treated with anti-retroviral drugs, reach the stage when their immune system turns dysfunctional. Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among individuals with HIV/AIDS. In Kenya, the mortality rate due to tuberculosis is 133 deaths per 100,000. Yet, the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS, aggravated by TB in the country, seems to have oscillated between 5.7 and 9% over the past five years (2004 – 2010). Based on primary data, including interviews with scientists in the country, and secondary sources gathered in situ and the US, this review of health in Kenya addresses three issues: The extent to which HIV/AIDS/TB co-infections exist in the country; government strategy to stamp out the crisis and the impact of cultural and historical factors. The authors argue that, while the environment, resource mismanagement and history account for much of Kenya’s crisis, the role of culture and ethnicity requires a much more scrutiny from the researchers.
Key words: HIV/AIDS/TB, culture, traditional healer, circumcision, prevalence, breastfeeding, “dry sex.”
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