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Kenyan women 'deeply afraid of HIV label'
Efforts to tackle the stigma attached to HIV in Kenya need to be put in place, an academic has insisted.
According to associate professor Janet Turan of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, pregnant women in the African country are "deeply afraid of the HIV label".
This, she said, means many are failing to use HIV services at proper healthcare facilities.
Ms Turan has therefore called for stigma reduction programmes to be introduced across the country, as this could help reduce the chances of HIV being transmitted to babies.
"It's essential that these facilities warmly welcome the poorest, least educated women, because they deliver their babies with skilled care most often," she commented.
Ms Turan was speaking after the university carried out a study, published in the PLoS Medicine journal, in Kenya's Nyanza province to find out where women gave birth.
Nearly one in five 15 to 49-year-old females in the region are HIV positive, yet less than half of those who are expecting a baby are seen by skilled experts during childbirth.
Posted by Martine Ward