Since Kenya recorded its first case of HIV in 1984, the AIDS epidemic has evolved to become one of the central impediments to national health, well being and development.

In the 1990s, HIV spread rapidly in Kenya – reaching prevalence rates of 20 to 30% in some antenatal care (ANC) sites – with major social and economic impacts at all levels of society. In 1999, the Government of Kenya declared HIV as a national disaster and established the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) to co-ordinate a multi-sectoral national response.

The Kenya Aids Indicator Survey (KAIS) 2012 found that 5.6% of adults in Kenya, aged 15 to 64 years (or about 1,200,000 persons), were living with HIV at the time of the survey. This was a decrease compared to 2007, when the prevalence was 7.2% (or about 1,400,000 persons). According to KAIS 2012, certain populations are more at risk for HIV infection, although they represent a small proportion of the Kenyan population. These populations include people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, and people who give or receive money or favours in exchange for sex.

Groups      National Nyanza Nairobi Coast
Heterosexual sex within union/regular partnership 44.1% 38.5% 37.4% 37.9%
Casual heterosexual sex 20.3% 30.5% 23.0% 14.9%
Sex workers and their clients 14.1% 23.1% 14.7% 18.2%
MSM and prison 15.2% 6.0% 16.4% 20.5%
Injecting drug users (IDUs) 3.8% 5.8% 6.1%
Health facility related 2.5% 1.9% 2.7% 2.3%
Number of new infections 76,315 25,195 10,155 6,656

Source: Modes of Transmission Study (2009)


Figure 1: Prevalence Rate for New Infections (NACC, 2008)

In the context of mixed epidemics, there is an urgent need for HIV prevention interventions first targeting Key Populations at greatest risk for HIV, then Bridge Populations who frequent high risk venues and are involved with high risk networks and finally members of the general population.  HIV prevention programs must be tailored to specific contexts to ensure that the prevention response is appropriate and to ensure that resources are allocated to interventions that will have the greatest efficiency and impact.