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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Science Infectious Diseases
Title Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevalence among Catha Edulis Forsk (miraa) users in Meru region, Kenya
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://etd-library.ku.ac.ke/bitstream/handle/123456789/8957/Njue, James​Kinoti.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Khat or miraa (Catha edulis Forsk (Celastraceae) chewing is known to be a widespread habit
in among selected communities in Kenya. Since HIV/AIDS was declared a national disaster in
Kenya in 1999, the disease has become an obstacle to both health and development of the
people. Nevertheless, the use of substance including C. edulis has dramatically increased
despite the serious concern on control of HIV infection. This study was aimed at determining
the HIV prevalence and impact of C. edulis chewing and social-demographic, knowledge,
behavioral as risk factors to HIV infections and possible effects to CD4 and viral load counts
among residents of Nyambene region of Meru County. A cross-sectional study was conducted
among 267 individuals aged above15 years in the region during the period of May-December
2012. Data was collected using structured questionnaire and blood drawn from consenting
participants. HIV status was determined by use of rapid tests; Determine and confirmed by
ELISA test. CD4 and viral load counts were monitored (3months) for all HIV positive
participants. The study established that the general HIV prevalence was 7.9% with women
(8.1%) being affected more than men (7.6%) though not significant (p=0.019). Risk
behaviours for HIV infection like C. edulis use were more observed among women engaged in
Catha edulis business than men though not significant (p=1.468). Lack of knowledge on HIV
transmission and prevention methods were associated with HIV status despite the high
awareness of the disease. However there was significant difference on education level and
breast feeding (p = 0.001), pregnancy (p=0.017) and HIV transmission during delivery
(p=0.039). Most participants relied on radio as a source of information on HIV/AIDS which
varied significantly with their education level (p = 0.001) and in HIV-TB co infection
(p=0.005). There was significant difference on first CD4 count and the second, three months
after (p = 0.001) unlike in viral load counts (p = 0.396). C. edulis use is risk behaviour for the
spread of HIV infection. Ignorance, lack of knowledge and engagement into multiple sex
partners predisposes people to risk of contracting HIV infection.

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