UoN marks World AIDS Day 2020 Virtually
“More funds need to be injected in the study, research and care of HIV.” These were the sentiments that were echoed as the University held a virtual ceremony to mark World Aids Day on Tuesday December 1, 2020.
The theme for this year’s world AIDs day was ‘Global Solidarity and shared responsibility’. The campaign will explore different aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific groups of people, such as adolescent girls and young women, key populations and people living with HIV.
In his address the Chief Guest, VC Prof. Stephen Kiama said that World Aids day provides an opportunity for all the people worldwide to unite in support of HIV/AIDs activities and show their support for people living with HIV/AIDs. It is also a day to take stock of our achievements in response to HIV/AIDs and bring into focus what remains to be done in order to eradicate the scourge.
The Vice Chancellor reported the University of Nairobi has an HIV and AIDS policy that provides education, support, care and treatment for the infected and affected. The University does not discriminate against students or staff living with HIV/AIDs.
When delivering the keynote address, Prof. Omu Anzala took the audience through the studies that Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative -Institute of Clinical Research (KAVI-ICR) has been involved in. He noted that HIV embeds itself into the genome of the host. It has the most variability and has been a challenge in developing a vaccine. KAVI-ICR is involved in 3 clinical trials. Through his presentation, Prof. Anzala noted that the pace of progress in eliminating HIV/AIDS epidemic does not match the global ambitions.
While Dr. Loice Ombajo highlighted the relations between the COVID-19 and HIV. She noted with concern that both HIV and Covid-19 preventions are both personal responsibilities. Abstinence and being faithful to one partner remain the absolute prevention of HIV and wearing of masks, social distancing and washing hands with clean water and soap are the basic ways of preventing infection of Covid-19. She urged everyone to adhere to the regulations.
The DVC Academic Affairs, Prof. Julius Ogeng’o emphasized on the importance of having continuous discussions of HIV and AIDS with the students and those that are joining the UoN community. He said that the University has a course that addresses drug abuse that can include HIV prevention and care education. 60% of the affected population is ages15-29, this is mostly the age of university students.
As the DVC Human Resource and Administration, Prof. Enos Njeru was moderating the event, he also mentioned that eliminating stigma and discrimination, putting people at the Centre and grounding our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches are key to ending the colliding pandemics of HIV/AIDS and COVID-19.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lucy Muhia noted that this is the most observed international day. She highlighted the support that the University has continued to give to people living with HIV within the UoN community.
The UNSA Chair, Eddie Mwendwa introduced the session by urging all stakeholders to continue enlightening the society by education, he said, “Education can be considered a social vaccine to AIDS.”
The event was streamed live here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0bo844N2k4&pbjreload=101&ab_channel=UniversityofNairobi