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The law on HIV/AIDS in Kenya


Date Posted: 10/17/2012 6:16:03 AM

Posted By: meg soni  Membership Level: Gold  Total Points: 2477

There is a rise in HIV/AIDS prevalence rates. HIV/AIDS was declared a national disaster by retired president Daniel Moi due to the havoc it wreaked in the lives of many Kenyans. It affected all sectors and forms of life. Many children were left destitute and orphaned, the government could not bear the burden of the disease.

The Kenyan government saw the necessity of laws on HIV/AIDS aimed at curtailing the spread of the infection. The laws contain guidelines dealing with issues like testing, medical, education and information flow under the HIV and AIDS prevention control act.

The law promotes public awareness about modes of transmission, consequences, means of prevention and control of HIV/AIDS; extends human rights protection to any person suspected or known to be infected. It promotes safety and precautions in practices and procedures that carry the risk of HIV transmission and positively addresses and seeks to eradicate conditions that aggrevate the spread of HIV.

Because HIV infected face negative bias from various sectors, the HIV/AIDS law prohibits discrimination.This guarantees an individual who is infected, right to privacy.The law obliges the government to promote public awareness through comprehensive educational and information campaigns by various government ministries, departments, authorities and other agencies.

The educational and information campaign used by the government should employ scientific proven approaches; focus on the family as the basic social unit; encourage testing of individuals and be carried out in schools and other institutions of learning, all prisons, remand homes and other places of confinement, amongst the disciplined forces, at all places of work and in all communities throughout kenya. To adhere this law, the government has taken measures to provide the HIV/AIDS awareness information we see posted at government institutions and other public places.

The law sets safety practices and procedure for health institutions in kenya. For instance,

a person donating any tissue(blood, semen or an organ) must first undergo a HIV test. In fact, one can sue a medical professional, if they negligently or knowingly infect them with HIV/AIDS through unsafe or unsanitary practices or procedures. Where this happens, the doctor may not only serve a jail term or pay a fine, but may also have his license withdrawn. A hospital found guilty may have its license cancelled.

No person shall compel another to undergo a HIV test as a condition before employment, marriage, admission into any educational institution, entry into or travel out of the country or the provision of health care, insurance cover or any other service. However, a person charged in court with a sexual offence may be compelled to undergo a testing.

The law requires those infected to take reasonable measures and precautions to prevent transmission of HIV to others. The infected should inform any sexual partners of that fact in advance. If an infected person knowingly and recklessly infects another person, he or she shall be guilty of an offence and can be convicted and fined not more than Kshs. 500,000, or imprisonment of not more than seven years. He/she is however innocent if the person he or she is accused of infecting was aware of his or her condition but put themselves at the risk of infection.

Other provisions on research, transmission of HIV and confidentiality of HIV/AIDS tests are also found in the law. The question that lingers however is whether the law alone can sufficiently stem the tide of infections, as it clearly does not have power to change people's behavior towards the disease or make them take the necessary precautions. Even the government information does not have the power to effect behavior change in a people so varied. The answer lies within each individual.

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