Kenya soothes AIDS fever

Njururi, B.

New African 224: 25-26


ISSN/ISBN: 0142-9345
PMID: 12282675
Document Number: 366036
In a reversal of its original stance that acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is nonexistent in the country, the Government of Kenya has launched a national advisory committee on the disease. At Kenya's 1st public symposium on AIDS, held January 1986, physicians reported that 26 AIDS cases had been identified in the country, 14 of which involved Kenyan nationals. The majority of these cases were from hospitals in Nairobi; 90% involve intravenous drug abusers and homosexuals, although female prostitution is expected to become an increasingly significant risk factor. Blood tests have suggested that less than 1% of Kenyans are positive for the AIDS virus. The 1st task of the national advisory committee was to develop a set of guidelines for medical staff to follow in terms of diagnosing and reporting AIDS cases, handling laboratory specimens, and managing AIDS patients. These guidelines mandate that AIDS be a notifiable disease in Kenya, like cholera and typhoid. The committee has drawn up a list of symptoms suggestive of AIDS, and instructed physicians to refer patients with such symptoms for serologic testing. If this laboratory test is positive, a 2nd test involving a cell count is to be taken. Once patients have been positively identified as having AIDS, it is recommended that they be isolated and nursed in separate cubicles; on the other hand, no need is seen to create special AIDS wards. At present, a special subcommittee is considering procedures for managing AIDS patients in the community.

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