This article originally appeared in emPower Magazine.
Only 36 percent of Kenya’s population has been tested for HIV. CHF International (CHF) is working with local Kenyan partner organizations to broaden the reach of the testing, to address vulnerabilities and the build resilience of communities facing health challenges. As part of this action, CHF is also working to build the capacity of 39 local Kenyan organizations to undertake health work themselves in the near future.
In the Kakamega region of Western Kenya, CHF, the Centers for Disease Control, the Kenyan Ministry of Health, and the Swiss-based medical technology firm Vestergaard Frandsen partnered to get the word out: it’s time to be tested for HIV - everyone.
As part of implementing a massive public health campaign, CHF and its partners distributed mosquito proof bednets, lifestraws that make river water clean, and condoms as an incentive for people to be tested for HIV/AIDS. In addition, 400 health counselors were hired and trained to educate people on HIV/AIDS and the testing process.
CHF and health experts especially wanted to focus on young, unattached men like Daniel Openda because most don’t want to be tested. Like many other young Kenyans, Daniel had never seen a condom before and was very nervous about the AIDS test. CHF worked with Daniel to understand the most important step he could take was to get tested and know his HIV status. For Daniel, the test showed he was HIV negative. Daniel is now armed with the truth of his health and can take proactive steps to ensure he continues to stay healthy.
This year alone CHF has helped 11,549 adult individuals receive counseling and testing for HIV. Additionally, CHF has served 5,485 orphans and vulnerable children with HIV-related services and care including testing.
Watch the video to see Daniel's story and learn more about CHF's HIV/AIDS activities in Kenya.