The Sands has long been committed to making a positive difference to both our immediate and wider environments, starting with our own community.

A representative of the Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV and Aids (KELIN), Esther Nelima, was recently invited to Nomad to give a special sensitisation training workshops to help educate, support and empower our staff.

HIV prevalence in the local community stands at 3.8% according to the 2018 HIV Estimate report, released in December 2018 by the National Aids Control Council (NACC). Stigma and discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV also remains high, at 48%.

All staff were given the opportunity to attend the training sessions over the course of 5 days. The training covered awareness on sexual health, STIs and HIV/Aids; signs, symptoms and methods of prevention; the importance of testing, early diagnoses and treatment as well as adherence and disclosure; and legal protection for people living with HIV and Aids through the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act (HAPCA).

Initial feedback from the sessions revealed that few of those in attendance were aware of the realities of HIV transmission, prevention and treatment and that diagnoses does not have to be devastating or a life-limiting. It is hoped that this intervention – the first of its kind in Diani – will help KELIN to reach more people within the tourism industry, to ensure those who do not know their HIV status are tested and linked to care and support and to prevent further deaths from HIV related illnesses in the tourism industry.

Individual counseling sessions to encourage more people to talk openly and freely regarding issues related to HIV and Aids followed the training sessions, with further training planned for 2019.