Is this true?Why is it that its only women who suffer the brunt of HIV and AIDS ?What is is that makes women and HIV in Kenya inseparable?Why are they considered to be conjoined twins?
This article seeks to shed more light on this topic
Are women and HIV in Kenya inseparable?
There are several factors which contribute to increased HIV infection among women in Kenya .
Women and HIV in Kenya:The conjoined twins
How is it that HIV is considered to have a female face? This can be analyzed two fold. On one hand, there are many women in Kenya who are infected with the virus. On the other hand, there also many girls who have been orphaned and many women left widowed by HIV.
So what has the society been doing since the 1980s when the first case of HIV was discovered in Kenya?Why is that we still have HIV strongly associated with women? Does it mean that for us to eradicate HIV and AIDS in Kenya ,we must do away with women?An interesting food for thought.
Women and HIV:
HIV infection has been found to be high in women due to some of the factors below.
- the physical structure of the anatomy of women.
- the women are considered to be highly receptive to the virus due to the high mucous lining in the vagina
- poor economic power.This contributes to increase in high risk behavior among women
Failure by the Kenya government to develop relevant policies, have contributed to the current situation where women and HIV in Kenya can be considered as conjoined twins.
Women and HIV in Kenya:Risks
Several factors make certain population groups more vulnerable to HIV infection and less likely, once infected, to access the HIV related treatment and services they need. Women and girls in Kenya are the most affected group. Their increased vulnerability HIV infection and co-infection due to social, economic and cultural factors. This has also led to increase in the number of child headed households in Kenya.
Low economic power by majority of women in Kenya has seen the rise in the number of girls & women engage in prostitution to help meet their daily needs. This has in turn contributed to the high number of teenage pregnancies and abortion being witnessed in Kenya-though this go unreported due to the legal frameworks in place.
To add onto the mix, there is a belief that if an HIV positive person has sex with a child, s/he would be cured. This has significantly contributed to the vulnerabilities being experienced by women. What this means is that looking at the current trends of HIV infection in the country; HIV prevalence is high among girls between the ages of 15-24 and men above 50 years.
For the married and pregnant women who are tested HIV positive, the world for a moment comes to an end. This is so because the dynamics involved in disclosing HIV status have not been well addressed. Women in Kenya who disclose to their partners have been subjected to all forms or violence. To avoid this, some women have chosen to suffer in silence.
Due to the poor economic power by a majority of women, those infected with HIV are not able to afford a balanced diet. This situation is compounded further where the woman is the breadwinner. Such a woman has a serious question to answer in how best to use her daily wage. Should she use it for her HIV treatment or to buy food for her children, in addition to seeing them through school?
How do we separate women and HIV in Kenya?
In the medical world, separation of conjoined twins can be fatal. In that one set of the conjoined twins could die.
In the case of women and HIV in Kenya:conjoined twins, if I were to ask you the reader, who do we sacrifice, is it the women in Kenya or the other segments of the population.
For you to answer this question, you need to look at:
- What would society loose if measures are not put in place to help women already infected or reduce if not prevent new HIV infections among women in Kenya
- What kind of society would we have if we continued doing nothing to alleviate the impact of HIV among women and girls
I do hope that by answering the above we will be able to effectively address the issue around Women and HIV in Kenya:The conjoined twins