Dr Jacobi asked the youth to encourage HIV positive colleagues to seek treatment.

EMPOWER YOUTH

She rooted for economic empowerment of the youth, saying it would contribute to the establishment of a prosperous and peaceful nation. She also reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to defeating the HIV scourge.

“The UN remains committed to working with the Kenyan government to ensure that HIV services are provided…[without]…stigma and discrimination. Working together with young people, we will end the Aids menace,” she said.

She said young women are the worst affected in the country due to lack of information and services and also due to discrimination.

US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Country Coordinator, Dr Tamuu Daniels, said his government has allocated over USD30 million (Sh3 billion) for assisting young girls to stay in school, giving the youth a voice on issues affecting them, changing retrogressive gender norms and empowering peer leaders.

YOUNG WOMEN

“Youths, especially young women, bear the brunt of the HIV epidemic due to limited access to information, preventive, curative and counselling services, stigma and discrimination and if it is left unchecked, there is a threat to the great strides in controlling its spread [which] we have made so far. Guaranteeing the rights and empowerment of youth is a moral obligation and a smart investment that will safeguard their health and future,” the US official said.

Dr Daniels said the country could not hope to defeat the scourge without giving young people a voice to express and empower themselves and their peers.

Ms Maureen Murenga, the chairperson of the Network of People Living with HIV in Kenya (Nephak), called on Kenyans to stop stigmatising those living with the virus.

Ms Murenga lamented that most of the deaths of HIV positive people could have been prevented had the individuals not been subjected to stigma and discrimination.

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