In Kenya, it is estimated that there are 1.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS and 1.1 million children who are orphans due to AIDS. As a whole, more than six percent of the population is infected with HIV, but the epidemic has hit specific regions and vulnerable groups much more seriously.

USAID/Kenya works through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in close partnership with the Government of Kenya.  The Plan, launched in 2003, represents one of the largest U.S. Government investments in HIV globally.  Country ownership serves as a core principle of the work in Kenya, and the U.S. Government is redoubling efforts to build country systems for sustainable impact. Our health systems strengthening efforts underpin the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, ensuring it positively influences and aligns with Kenya’s transition to a devolved healthcare system. 

USAID’s HIV/AIDS program supports a wide variety of activities for prevention, care and support, and treatment in every province and includes testing and counseling, and the management of strategic information among other interventions.  As a result of USAID and the efforts of other U.S. Government agencies, Kenyans have more access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care services. 

Prevention and Support

USAID supports comprehensive, evidence-based prevention activities informed by rigorous analysis of Kenya’s AIDS epidemic.  HIV prevention activities promote behavior change among young people by emphasizing delayed sexual debut and reduced numbers of sexual partners.  Prevention is closely coordinated with counseling and testing activities.  There are over 5,800 testing sites in Kenya targeted to the general population as well as groups who are most at risk.   Both voluntary and healthcare worker-initiated counseling and testing programs are supported. 

USAID’s care and support program focuses on HIV palliative care, orphans and vulnerable children, nutrition, home-based care, and combined tuberculosis/HIV services to ensure a continuum of care for HIV affected individuals. 

The Government of Kenya has expanded services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS as part of comprehensive antenatal care services at most public health facilities.  Combined with greater treatment coverage overall, mother-to-child transmission rates have dropped significantly, from a high of 28.3 percent in 2005 to 8.5 percent in 2012. USAID supports prevention of mother-to-child transmission in private health facilities not covered by the Kenyan government.


Within the last five years, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief increased funding for treatment given that many Kenyans were already ill as a result of long-term HIV infection. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief therefore committed funds to make life-prolonging treatment available to as many people as possible as soon as they needed it. Moreover, effective medicines are currently more affordable. Such efforts have resulted in an exponential increase in the number of people accessing treatment from 36,000 in 2005 to nearly 600,000 at 4,500 sites across Kenya. At least 56,000 of those receiving treatment are children.  Improved access to treatment has also reduced mortality and morbidity from HIV. 

In addition, there are 30 quality assurance laboratories that are accredited with World Health Organization/African Regional Office international standards.  Together, these treatment programs prevented approximately 70,000 deaths that might otherwise have occurred in 2012.  Approximately 270,000 deaths have been averted since 2004 when the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief began.

Orphans and Vulnerable Children

USAID advances a family-centered approach for supporting orphans and vulnerable children.  Several activities work towards meeting the health, economic, psychological and educational needs of these vulnerable populations.  In 2012 USAID awarded three new grants to local Kenyan organizations to directly implement programs targeting orphans and vulnerable children.  USAID supports local institutions and support service networks to identify needs, provide services, monitor the status of these children and advocate for their interests.

For more information:

Karen Freeman
Mission Director
P.O. Box 629
00621 Nairobi
Tel: + 254 8622000

Barbara Hughes
Office of Population and Health USAID/Kenya
P.O. Box 629
00621 Nairobi
Tel: + 254 8622000

Updated September 2013

Last updated: September 12, 2013

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