HIV AS A NATIONAL DISASTER IN KENYA
The term ‘national disaster’ refers to the detrimental effect of a particular phenomenon whether natural or not which affects the population of a nation negatively in terms of loss of human lives or massive harm or injury to a large section of the population. In the year 1999, former president Daniel Arap Moi declared HIV/AIDS a national disaster in Kenya and called for the establishment of the National AIDS Control Council. HIV is a virus which causes progressive deterioration of the human immune system subjecting the patient to opportunistic diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. The virus is transmitted through the exchange of body fluids, primarily semen, blood, and blood products. However, it can be prevented by having protected sex. The virus leads to a terminal condition called Acquired Immune-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Since this declaration, several organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, have also declared HIV as a national disaster. HIV is a national disaster because of the following reasons: HIV has wiped out 25 million human lives worldwide since its discovery in 1981 and a large percentage of this statistic is from Kenya, approximately 17% of the total 25 million. This has led to HIV being described as a national disaster because it has caused substantial human life loss in Kenya. Aside from the number of people dead as a result of AIDS, there are also an estimated 1.5 million people living with HIV at the moment. There are an even larger number of people who have been affected directly or indirectly by the HIV menace hence contributing to a large population infected and affected by HIV. This is a major contributing factor to HIV being declared a national disaster in Kenya. HIV has also left a large number of children as orphans due to the demise of their parents as a result of HIV/AIDS related illnesses. This has led to these children turning to the streets as a means of sustenance hence...
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