Executive Director's Word

 “The world marked the Worlds AIDS Day on 1st December, 2016. This day is dedicated to raising awareness of the disease caused by the spread of HIV. Since it was launched, a tremendous amount of progress has been made in reducing the stigma still faced by many, and the number of people dying from Aids-related illnesses since the first cases were reported.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Progress Report 2016; Prevent HIV, Test and Treat All, the estimated number of adults and children newly infected with HIV globally decreased by about 20 000–30 000 each year since 2010. Fewer children younger than 15 years are acquiring HIV – one of the great recent success stories. Wider use of improved ARV medicine regimens and service delivery methods has been a decisive factor. However, the number of new HIV infections in people aged 15 years and over increased by an estimated 1% in 2010–2015.

The theme of this year is “Hands up for HIV Prevention.” The campaign looks at ways to improve prevention strategies, identifying key areas among specific groups of people who are vulnerable to transmission particularly adolescent girls and young women. The campaign kicked off in October with a single message written on one person’s hand.

The National Organization of Peer Educators (NOPE) is committed to working through partnerships to contribute to the Global 90-90-90 treatment goals and the vision of an HIV-free generation. NOPE has, since its inception 16 years ago, touched thousands of lives and contributed significantly to the HIV and AIDS response in Kenya and the East Africa region particularly among young people including adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) through the DREAMS initiative, key populations (sex workers and men who have sex with men), and workers in formal and informal settings.

NOPE works closely with the Government of Kenya through the National AIDS Control Council (NACC), National AIDS and STI Control Program (NASCOP) and County Health Management Teams (CHMTs). In addition, NOPE has been a partner in leading programs funded by PEPFAR through USAID and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Global Fund, European Union and the Royal Dutch Government through Hivos and Aids Fonds.

Since March 2015, NOPE, in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), has been implementing the Global Fund Project in Bomet County. The overall goal of the Project is to contribute to achieving Vision 2030 through universal access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care for all. This will immensely contribute to Bomet County AIDS Strategic Plan reducing new HIV infections by 75% and reducing AIDS related mortality by 25% by 2019.

"Now is the time to come together again and finish what we started. Let us seize this opportunity and join the fast-track towards ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030."Michel Sidibé UNAIDS Executive Director.

Through close partnership, NOPE has had an excellent working relationship with Bomet County Government. The project is being run in Bomet Central, Bomet East, Sotik and Konoin Sub-Counties in 8 health facilities and 14 dispensaries in 22 Community units spread across the four Sub-Counties. This is being expanded to Kericho County.

NOPE organizes the Biennial International Conference on Sexuality, Peer Education HIV & AIDS, which attracts participation from global players (development partners, academics, programmers, health researchers, Peer Educators, private sector, Governments, PLHIV, Key population and other stakeholders). The conference is major advocacy forum to highlight emerging issues and lessons learnt from interventions regarding Behavioral, Bio-Medical and Structural programs. The philosophy is that everyone counts and should be able to lead a dignified life, access quality services and contribute meaningfully to oneself and to humanity at large.

The world is making strides to deal with HIV/AIDS. Coverage of HIV testing, treatment and prevention has been enhanced by many governments and Non-Governmental Organizations. There is awareness of the infection through peer education and counselling by many NGO’s. Recently a new vaccination, known as “HVTN 702” will undergo clinical trial in South Africa and hopefully will be the vaccine that will be successful to fight HIV/AIDS.

NOPE will scale-up its efforts to increase the number of people who know their HIV status and are referred to care and treatment.