It has been proposed to initiate a HIV/AIDS trial in Kericho, as a collaborative work between Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Walter Reed Foundation within the next two months.
A large number of immigrants who arrive at Kericho to work in the tea estates provide adequate diversity to conduct the research, the results of which can be applied to a large population. Dr. Davy Koech, Director, KEMRI urged the local community members to participate in the trial on a voluntary basis. He also highlighted the need for increased financial and political support, to achieve the predefined research objectives.
Both KEMRI and the Foundation have been involved in conducting vaccine trials over the past eight years. The Kenya based research foundation seeks solution to medical problems, more specifically the AIDS pandemic, through active research that has been instrumental behind the partnership with Walter Reed Foundation.
The AIDS vaccine is currently being tested for its safety and efficacy on over 200 human volunteers in America and Uganda. Animal studies of the vaccine have already yielded promising results.
The infectious disease infects five million people and claims the lives on nearly three million, every year. Currently, more than 65,000 AIDS/HIV infected individuals are being provided anti-retroviral treatment, facilitated by financial support from the Kenyan Government. The coverage of treatment is however, inadequate.
Issues such as safe sex, abstinence from sex, and condom use are slowly beginning to gain importance in a society that has been too conservative to accept it or even discuss about it.
Epidemics of small pox, polio that haunted the entire world have been successfully managed and other diseases like tuberculosis, measles have been brought under control through successful immunization programmes. The strategies applied to such programmes can be incorporated into the anti-AIDS movement, to make it effective.