The National AIDS and STI’s Control Programme (NASCOP) was established in 1987 to spearhead the Ministry of Health’s interventions on the fight against HIV/AIDS.
NASCOP therefore operates as a Unit within the Ministry of Health and is mainly involved with technical co-ordination of HIV and AIDS programmes in Kenya. NASCOP contributes to the bulk of the implementation of the Kenya Aids Strategic Framework (KASF) 2014-2019
Since the first case was detected in the country in 1984, HIV and AIDS have had a devastating impact on all sectors of the Kenyan society. At the height of the HIV epidemic, HIV prevalence was at 30% among some populations in this country. The Kenyan government declared HIV/AIDS a national disaster in 1999, resulting in a national move towards creating awareness and advocacy for prevention of new infections.
Over time we have seen progress, with HIV prevalence now stabilizing at 6%, although the number of new infections still remains high.
The success outlined above is a direct result of the several programmes that NASCOP runs. These include the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV(PMTCT); HIV Testing and Counselling(HTC); basic education and dissemination of information about HIV; communication about behaviour change and mass media campaigns. In addition, NASCOP is spearheading efforts to increase access to male circumcision, anti-retroviral therapy and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
Other programmes are peer education and youth-to-youth initiatives; prevention of transmission in medical settings, including safe blood transfusion and proper infection control as well as condom education, promotion and distribution.
Through partner organisations, NASCOP also conducts regular HIV testing targeting specific groups including youth of all ages; students and their teachers; workers in both formal and informal sectors; faith-based groups; those in high risk occupations such as long-distance drivers, fishermen and commercial sex workers; women; married couples; members of the uniformed services and refugees. The most important entry point into this continuum of care is HIV testing and knowing one’s HIV status. Our belief as NASCOP is that if every Kenyan was tested for HIV and every person infected provided with appropriate treatment, then HIV will be brought under control.