World AIDS Day was first observed in 1988 and since then, it is marked every 1st December yearly and is globally recognized with different themes addressing HIV/AIDS and people living with it.
Each year, different organizations come together to shed more light on the HIV pandemic, endeavor to increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma, and call for an increased response to move towards ending the pandemic.
This year’s theme is End Inequalities, End Aids and End Pandemics.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, different creatives have come out to pass different messages touching on various subjects in a bid to educate the people.
One Doreen Moraa Moracha is among those at the forefront of using social media platforms to stop the HIV/AIDs stigma.
In a detailed interview, Doreen revealed that it was until last year that she fell for the sensational app TikTok and decided to give it a try.
Doreen says she enjoyed the trends of people making funny videos of everything and was thus challenged to create something she resonated with.
“Everybody was making funny videos about everything. I wanted to know, why aren’t there videos where you can see people living with HIV—and they look normal?” She said
She thus created a 15-second video clip wearing HIV Positive T-shirt and outlined her truth about living with HIV/AIDs and being on ARVs for 14 years.
Adherence to ARVs doesn't have to be boring 😊 sometimes take a photo to remind HIV who is the boss💃I am not sick,I am not dying I am an amazing Host to a tiny guest 😍♥️🤩 pic.twitter.com/ePupB3dPjD
— Yes I have HIV!🇰🇪🇿🇦🇨🇦🇧🇼🇿🇲🇬🇧🇦🇺🇿🇼 (@D_Moraa) September 20, 2020
Among the challenges, people living with HIV/AIDs have faced in society is stigma. A majority fail to disclose their status publicly for fear of being criticized, isolated and mocked.
Thus, Doreen among other activists across the world use their platforms to educate and try to eradicate the stigma surrounding them.
Important to note, however, is that social media platforms have played a key role in ending the stigma and creating awareness.
Another activist, Phenny Awiti has ideally used her social media platforms to create awareness and debunk the myths surrounding people living with HIV.
Through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Phenny uses her platforms to encourage those living with HIV to get on medication as well as live healthy with the virus.
Happy World AIDS Day Sweethearts pic.twitter.com/dpi8W0EACS
— Phenny Awiti (@awiti_phenny) December 1, 2018
In Kenya, approximately 1.3 million people are living with HIV infection with the Western part of the country including Homa Bay, Siaya and Kisumu as the most affected.
In a report by Kenya Population-based HIV Impact Assessment released last year, it was revealed that HIV prevalence is higher in women at 6.6% (95% CI: 6.0%-7.1%), compared to men at 3.1% (95% CI: 2.7%-3.5%).
In the survey conducted between June 2018 and February 2019, at least 139,000 (0.7%) children were found to be living with the virus.
The report also showed that Garissa County had no HIV prevalence while Homa Bay led at 19.6 percent.
Coming in a close second was Kisumu which stood at 17.5% while Siaya and Migori were at 15.3% and 13.0% respectively.
Nairobi was at 3.8%, Mombasa 5.6%, Nyeri 5.1%, Uasin Gishu 5.5%, Kajiado 4.6%, Turkana 6.8% and Kiambu 1.1%.
The lowest prevalence was recorded in the North-Eastern region, with less than 0.2% prevalence.
Consequently, a report released by the Ministry of Health in 2019 showed that 22 teenagers were getting infected with HIV/AIDS on a daily basis. It also showed that at least six adolescents were dying from the disease daily.
The month of December is used to mark and highlight HIV/AIDs by creating awareness. It is thus important to get tested and know one’s status in a bid to eradicate the HIV pandemic.