Habitat for Humanity Kenya joins the commemoration of World AIDS Day today 1st December 2022. This year’s theme “Equalize” draws our minds to ending the inequalities that affect the people infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. Key among the inequalities is the challenge of decent and affordable housing.
There is widespread inequality brought about by HIV and AIDS when it comes to housing. Most of the children orphaned by HIV and AIDS together with widows/widowers who lost their spouses to the disease reside in deplorable housing conditions either in the slums or in the rural areas. Having lost their providers, most of them live in makeshift structures made of non-durable materials that leaves them exposed to health hazards, and harsh climatic conditions like cold weather among others.
Like every other person, people living positively with HIV have a right to decent and affordable housing. However, some of them may not be having access to decent housing. This has endangered the lives of many people and left them exposed to many opportunistic diseases. Houses that have less protection against cold weather may lead diseases like pneumonia, while dusty floors can also lead to other chest conditions. Lack of proper sanitation and poor hygiene conditions also pose great danger and threat to them.
While there is great need to stop stigma and provide equal opportunities to all regardless of the HIV status, housing should be prioritized especially to those infected or directly affected by HIV and AIDS like the orphans and widows. To those infected and already in care, decent housing provides protection against diseases and provides them with security as they continue with medication.
Habitat for Humanity Kenya’s housing programme for orphans and vulnerable groups provides hope to the vulnerable populations including those infected or directly affected. Through this approach, Habitat for Humanity Kenya has constructed houses for orphans, widows, widowers, and people living with HIV.
While HFH Kenya’s efforts may not be adequate to meet the ever-increasing housing demand for this cohort, we highly appreciate the government’s commitment to affordable housing which seeks to make decent housing accessible to all Kenyan’s.
HIV status should not be an hindrance to affordable housing to anyone, the government should ensure that all obstacles to affordable housing to those living with HIV are all removed. The orphans and widows should be prioritized to ensure they access decent and affordable housing.