Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How moonlight VCT helps Curb HIV/AIDS infection in South Nyanza, Kenya

Counselors waiting clients at a moonlight VCT in North Eastern parts of Kenya. The same has been carried out in Migori County.

By Manuel Odeny/KNA
24th February 2009 (March 2009 issue of The Eye)

About 2,000 residents of Migori district have benefited from moonlight VCT services carried out in three centers; Migori Town, Lwanda Konyango and Muhuru-Bay.

The Moonlight services mainly targets prostitutes and truck drivers on Kenya-Tanzania highway because of their high risk behaviors. Additionally, fishermen also benefited by knowing their HIV/AIDS status.

A total of 1960 clients were tested and counseled with only 245 of them testing positive placing the prevalence rate at 14%.

The moonlight VCT which started on May this year operated from early evening to 10pm with aid from the Community Habitant Funding (CFH) under the USAID and Maanisha initiative of AMREF.

Speaking to KNA Dickens Owuor a counselor said they targeted the clients since they were busy during the day and rested at night while commercial sex workers were readily available at night.

“Government administrators like police and chiefs offering security to counselors were also tested and counseled” Said Mr. Owuor

On the other hand couples busy during the day also preferred the night counseling to avoid stigmatization.

“This high number of couples attending the night time VCT will help reduce the high prevalence rate among married couples as experienced today” said Valoriance Odhiambo a counselor.

 “For the fight against HIV/AIDS to be managed working formulas like this have to be continued and replicated countrywide” said Owuor.

Last year of 23,173 clients tested in the three centers the number of males was higher than females with 867. The prevalence rate was higher in females at 24% which was 10% more than males.

The general district prevalence rate was 18%.

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