In late 2010, when ICAP launched its support for HIV prevention, care, and treatment in Kenya’s Eastern South region, the adult HIV prevalence rate was estimated at 7.1 percent and only 25 percent (350,000) of the estimated 1.4 million Kenyans living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Particularly high rates of HIV infection had been documented among older adults, rural populations, and women and girls; for example, HIV prevalence was four times higher among young women between the ages of 15 and 24 than among young men of the same age. This high prevalence impacted mother-to-child transmission of the virus, with researchers estimating a 15 percent vertical transmission rate between 2007 and 2012. Study findings also indicated that over 30 percent of new HIV infections in Kenya were associated with key populations, including mobile fisher folk around Lake Victoria, female sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and HIV-negative partners in serodiscordant relationships.
To begin to control the epidemic, which varies significantly by county, intensive support was needed at all levels of the health system to further expand HIV care and treatment, with an emphasis on evidence-based interventions along the full HIV care continuum.