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The International Community

of Women Living with HIV


H.E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, C.G.H
President of the Republic of Kenya
Commander in Chief of the Defense Forces of the Republic of Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya
Via E-mail: info@president.go.ke

26 March 2015
Your Excellency,
The International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) and the Global Network of
People Living with HIV (GNP+) write to you regarding your Excellencys Directive, issued
on the 23 February 2015, as part of your admirable commitment to the global All-In
platform to End Adolescent AIDS. Kenya has shown strong and commendable political
leadership to end the epidemic.
Your Excellency issued instructions to all County Commissioners to work with County
Directors of Education and Medical Services to collect up-to-date data on children and
other people living with HIV for the purposes of improving delivery of comprehensive
services. The data matrix included with the Directive indicates that the names of children
living with HIV, guardians and caregivers living with HIV, as well as all women living with
HIV, including expectant and breastfeeding mothers, should be collected. It further links
the names of persons from each of these groups to their home area or school. We
understand that authorities are already undertaking efforts to comply with this Directive.
Whilst we commend your swift action and commitment to overcome the challenges of
HIV and AIDS amongst adolescents, we are deeply concerned that these instructions will
result in the violation of the fundamental human rights of individuals to confidentiality and
privacy, and will have serious consequences for people living with HIV and the HIV
response in Kenya.
The mass collection and disclosure of confidential medical information will undermine
important public health goals. We are apprehensive that the measure will in fact deter
people from seeking HIV treatment and care services, thus frustrating efforts to
encourage voluntary HIV testing and treatment.
We are also concerned that the effort will disproportionately impact women living with
HIV, placing them at increased risk of stigma, discrimination and violence. Research
shows incontrovertibly that non-consensual disclosure of HIV positive status can increase
exposure to violence, especially for women who are already at higher risk for genderbased violence. Critically, the data collection will undermine efforts to ensure that women
seek and access services for prevention of vertical transmission of HIV. Such a result is
counterproductive to Kenyas success on The Global Plan towards The Elimination of

The International Community


of Women Living with HIV
New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive.
In an advisory dated 11 March 2015 the National Empowerment Network of People
Living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK) and the Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues
Network on HIV and AIDS (KELIN), leading HIV organizations in Kenya, have articulated
that the proposed data collection measures are also contrary to Kenyan Law, specifically:
the provisions of Article 31 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010; sections 20, 21, 22 and 23
of the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act 2006; section 19 of the Childrens Act;
and the relevant International Treaties to which Kenya is a party, by virtue of Article 2(6)
of the Constitution of Kenya.
ICW and GNP+ join our voices to those of NEPHAK and KELIN to urge your Excellency
to immediately recall the instruction issued and to take steps to halt the ongoing efforts
at compliance.
We urge your Excellency to work with networks of people living with HIV, such as
NEPHAK, ICW and GNP+, and partners such as KELIN, to find alternative rights-based
approaches to implement this laudable commitment under the All-In Campaign.
Sincerely,

Rebecca Matheson
ICW Global Director