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Kenya is among the world’s nations affected by HIV/AIDS with the virus claiming 600 people per day. The most endangered are the young people of the age bracket of 15-49 years who own/managers and employees of the Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs). The pandemic has negatively impacted on the successful management of MSEs in Kenya. This study was carried out to determine the relationship between the knowledge on HIV/Aids and safety measures taken by MSEs in Gikomba market, Nairobi, Kenya. AIDS was recognized in 1984 and by 1995, 73,179 HIV/AIDS deaths related cases had been reported in Kenya. Presently, it is estimated that about 2.2 million Kenyans are infected with HIV/AIDS, while 1.5 million have already died from the virus. However, this figure has gone dawn to 1.6 million. The sectoral impact of HIV/AIDS studies done so far has tended to lean on health, education, military, communications, information and agriculture. Little work has been done to investigate the effects of HIV/AIDS on MSEs’ management despite its importance in the economic development and its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Kenya. MSEs contribute 18% to the GDP in Kenya. The research was conducted using descriptive survey design to establish the relationship between the variables in the study of large group of individuals by studying a small group. The study used interview guide and questionnaires for data collection to achieve the desired objectives. The findings have showed that the deaths caused by either HIV/AIDS or its related immunodeficiency illnesses were common among the owners/ managers of MSEs at Gikomba market as attested by 80% on the entrepreneurs interviewed. The effects of HIV/AIDS on MSEs was found to be 93.3% of the about entrepreneurs interviewed. These effects were seen through loss of profits to meet expenses on HIV/AIDS ailments, contributions to medical bills, drug expenses, food supplements, absenteeism from work, psychological trauma, stigmatisation and deaths. The study also showed that 100% of owners/managers of MSEs are very much aware of HIV/AIDS and its effects but failed to manage it through behaviour change. It was concluded that the effects of HIV/AIDS on MSEs in terms of increased costs of running their businesses was due to cost of medical bills, burial expenses, drugs and food supplements, reduced productivity and absenteeism from work. The knowledge and awareness of HIV/AIDS, influence decisions and measures taken by MSEs owners/managers to control, manage and plan for the future of their businesses. The study has recommended measures that can be taken to control and manage the HIV/AIDS among the MSEs to reduce the effects including continued effort on awareness campaign among MSEs, change of policy and approach towards combating HIV/AIDS and direct involvement of MSEs owners/ managers and their employees in the campaign against HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Keywords: HIV/AIDS pandemic, Management of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) Gikomba market, Nairobi, Kenya
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