People living with HIV have a reason to smile after the World Health Organization (WHO) gave a directive to the government.
Dr Meg Doherty, director of WHO’s Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Programmes, while briefing at the ongoing online International Aids Society conference, has asked governments across the world to put people living with HIV on the priority list of COVID-19 vaccine.
Earlier on, many governments particularly in Africa, Kenya including, were giving COVID-19 vaccine priority to medics, the elderly, security personnel among others, due to the limited jabs of the vaccines.
HIV positive people were not included on the priority list. WHO has noted that people living with HIV should be given COVID-19 vaccines and protect them from the killer disease that is wreaking havoc across the globe.
Dr Meg Doherty noted that people living with HIV are at a greater risk of getting severe COVID-19 signs because their immune system is already compromised by the human immunodeficiency virus already in the body.
“There’s a critical need for vaccine equity; in lower and middle-income countries we have only 3-4 per cent vaccine coverage and we need to get the first dose into everyone,” Dr Meg Doherty said as reported by the Star.
She also noted that governments should focus on testing people for HIV because many people are living with HIV without knowing their status, and for that reason, they are at bigger risk because they are not on the required medication, ARVs.
"We have at least 10 million people who are unaware of their HIV status – we need to ensure that people are getting tested," she added.
Kenyan has so far administered at least 2 million doses of COVID-19 in the country. However, since some people have received their full dosage, it means less than 2 million people are fully vaccinated.
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