Kenya testing CD4 stages in AIDS patients

Blood testing is part of HIV infection prevention, and AIDS response programmes in Kenya and most other African countries.

Tests to determine the status of blood donor’s immune system, by measuring the level of disease fighting CD4 cells, is now supported by USA supplier Becton and Dickinson, as well as the USA President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Pepfar.

Becton Dickinson also supports construction of two incinerators in Kenya to dispose of contaminated material.

The suppliers are training 20 Kenyan clinicians to safely collect and handle blood, and to train other workers in Kenya and other African countries. Dr Nicholas Muraguri, head of Kenya’s National AIDS and STD control program, estimates HIV prevalence in Kenya at 7% in the age group 15 years to 64 years.

But female HIV prevalence is around 8.4%, and male at 5.3%. In a population of 40 million, some 1.4 million people in Kenya are living with HIV or AIDS.

HIV transmission in health care, where 650 000 infected people are cared for, is a huge risk management task to reduce risk to health care workers and patients alike.

Workers do many blood tests, at least two per year per patient, therefore some 1.2 million samples are taken per year, to test for HIV, or CD4 fount, or STDs and other diseasese.

At eight health care sites, where prevalence is up to 15%, workers are trained in injection safety and safe health care waste disposal.

SA infection rate slows

The HIV infection rate in South Africa is slowing, according to three studies in 2002, 2005 and 2008. Teenagers aged 15 to 24 were 60% less likely to contract HIV in 2008 than in 2002, said Prof Thomas Rehle, lead author of a paper in Plus One.

The overall new infection rate had declined by 35% as people started using condoms, changing other aspects of behaviour, and the death rate increased.

The SA National Aids Council is appealing to the public, employers and other organisations, to have the new infection rate by next year.

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