Victoria Beckham, a UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador and wife of famed English footballer David Beckham undertook a three day HIV awareness mission to Kenya.
She arrived in the east African country with her eldest son, Brooklyn on Thursday and departed on Saturday. The visit was under the aegis of Kenya’s Health Ministry in collaboration with ‘Born Free Africa’ and UNAIDS to raise awareness about HIV.
Focus of the visit
Ending AIDS can happen, but will only happen if we join together and end all forms of stigma and discrimination.
- The visit focused on preventing new HIV infections among newborn children and keeping their mothers healthy.
- It also looked at the urgency of promoting HIV testing, prevention and treatment for young people, especially adolescent girls and young women.
The Beckhams travelled across Kenya and visited projects that aim to reduce the effects of HIV in the country. They met with community and health workers to understand the challenges they face in their work and learned about their many successes.
They also spent time with children and talked to young people and adults living with or affected by HIV, hearing first-hand their personal stories and experiences of HIV.
“We have come such a long way together to overcome AIDS—we know the facts, we have the tools, but we need commitment, action and funding to see this through! Ending AIDS can happen, but will only happen if we join together and end all forms of stigma and discrimination,” the former Spice Girl stated.
The pair also took part in a national football campaign “Maisha kick out HIV stigma”, which aims to motivate young people to get HIV tested.
HIV testing, prevention and treatment services are critical to ending the AIDS epidemic, but often people, in particular young people, do not access services owing to lack of information and the stigma and discrimination linked to HIV.
UNAIDS records in Kenya
- UNAIDS estimates that 1.5 million people are living with HIV in Kenya
- About 71,000 new HIV infections among adults recorded in 2015.
- One third of all new HIV infections occurred among young women and adolescent girls aged 15–24 years, who are at particularly high risk.
- There were 6,600 new HIV infections among children in 2015.
- The Government of Kenya recently pledged US$ 5 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
- And also $500,000 to UNAIDS to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
Kenya has made significant progress in the fight against HIV coz of political goodwill The prevalence has dropped to 6% from13% a decade ago— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) October 7, 2016
UNAIDS Country Director, Jantine Jacobi also said, “Having the support of our International Goodwill Ambassador is extremely important for Kenya in moving towards ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat.”