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Kenyan patients seek help ahead of World AIDS Day

11-30-2011 16:09 BJT Special Report:World AIDS Day 2011 |

By Ejidiah Wangui

NAIROBI, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Every year, the country celebrates the HIV/AIDS day to raise awareness and show support to people living with the virus.

Dec. 1 is the day when the country's attention is directed to the celebrations in reviewing the progress made and the short falls.

And even though Kenya is among other country's where HIV prevalence rates have been on a downward trend, many feel more needs to be done to increase access to Antiretrovirals among other requirements. Those living with the virus need to remain healthy and live positively.

With donors threatening to cut funding on HIV/AIDS, the country's success in the war against the scourge remains uncertain and bleak.

Beatrice Kabira, a mother of four and living with the virus, is among thousands facing a bleak future with the news of reduced funds.

She will be marking her fifth year with the virus and says the burden has become heavier by the day.

"Life has continued to be unbearable and with the high cost of living, things have not been easy in my case, with four children to feed and the special diet that I need to remain healthy, life has become too expensive to bear," She said during an interview with Xinhua.

Even though Kabira receives free ARVs from Gilgil General Hospital, she says a balanced diet is her biggest worry.

"We are always encouraged to eat healthy to boost our immune system but with high cost of food, it has become difficult for me, I can no longer afford a special diet for me and feed my family as well," she says.

Kabira lost her husband to the scourge last year but has kept hope of living longer and seeing her children through to secondary school. The firstborn will be joining Form Two next year while the rest three are in primary school.

Kabira is not alone, Crispus Kioko, also living with HIV says if the government does not move with speed, all the gains made in the fight might be watered down.

He, however, says were it not for the government's move to provide free drugs, he could be not be living.

"I was very sick when doctors took tests and told me that I was HIV positive, my CD count was very low, I was in the brink of dying but my quick response to drugs saved my life," he says.

Kioko says the government should hold talks with donors or look for funds elsewhere to keep the journey back on track. With one day to the celebration, Kioko says he hopes the day will be loaded with new promises to those living with the virus.

He says the burden of living with the virus has been increasing by day, citing the high cost of food among other needs.

"I am required to have a special diet three times a day, but it is becoming hard to afford, with the country's inflation hitting the roof, those of us with special needs are finding it hard to cope."

"It is high time the government realizes the importance of looking for more financial support to raise awareness on the scourge, I am imagining of a situation when the government will no longer afford to provide free drugs what will happen to low income earners who depend on the free drugs?" he asked during the interview.

Their calls come a few days after the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and malaria said it will not disburse more funds until 2014 which has put some existing projects into jeopardy.

Kenya is among other countries that have been denied funds under the new development for large programs.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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