HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, according to the new data from the National Aids Control Council, (NACC), the country is losing at least 57 people every day to HIV and Aids-related illnesses.
Even as it registered progress in the fight against the disease, a big chunk of these deaths were recorded among the most productive population, a situation that creates a social crisis in a country with a high dependency ratio.
NACC reports that 20,997 people died from HIV and Aids-related diseases nationally, with Nairobi registering the highest number of deaths at 1,693 in its 2020 HIV estimate.
Statistics from the National AIDS and STI Control Program (NASCOP) showing that infections in the country currently stand at 1.5 million, with more than 41, 000 registered in 2019 alone According to the researchers, the figures could be higher since many Kenyans are yet to test to know their status owing to the stigma attached to the virus.
Kisumu had the second-highest number of deaths at 1,542, translating to daily mortality of about four people. Other counties with a high mortality rate include Homa Bay 1,458, Nakuru 1,171), and Siaya 1,116.
Counties that registered the least deaths include Tana River 26, Lamu 36, Samburu 37, Marsabit 42, and Isiolo 48.
People between the ages of 35 and 49 constituted the highest proportion of HIV deaths, accounting for a fifth of all deaths linked to the disease according to the data released.
This has contributed more to children left behind, drop out of school for lack of fees, with grandparents, some of whom largely rely on cash transfers from the State to have to take care of those left behind.
It also emerged that the transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from mother to child was still prevalent as HIV-positive mothers who lacked knowledge on the prevention measures often infected their babies during breast-feeding Figures showed that 21 percent of babies turned positive between the ages of 18 to 24 months while 17 percent between 24-36 months.
Official data shows that 42 percent of working Kenyans are aged between 35 and 64. The previous year saw the country record 23,210 deaths from Aids-related illnesses. Men accounted for the higher number of fatalities at 12,435.