Shortage of condoms in Kenya: how are you coping?
You may say ‘sipangwingwi’ but clearly the Kenyan government has decided to prove us otherwise. When was the last time you accessed free condoms by the government?
Things are thick!
To be fair, when COVID19 hit, a global shortage of condoms loomed, not because of panic buying but because the world’s biggest producers shut down many production factories. As you can already tell, Kenya was among the countries that were badly hit.
Imagine this happening in a country that has recorded high cases of unintended pregnancies and increased new HIV infections especially among adolescents and young people? Can you predict what will happen next?
The government saves the day!
I’m actually joking, it did not!
The government has said that we use ‘alternative methods’ of practicing safe sex. Do you know of any other alternative methods that are 98% effective at preventing STIs and unwanted pregnancies? I don’t know of any close answer other than abstinence, do you?
Maybe the government can give examples of the ‘alternative methods’ to safe sex.
Let’s be honest though, it’s all about priorities. I don’t remember a time that the government forgot to allocate money and time to something it cared about. Do you?
Holidays = More sex…just not safe sex
The holidays are here and research shows 61% of all new HIV infections are being recorded among adolescents and young people in Kenya and with the festive season just days away, the country may be facing yet another looming crisis or probably even higher numbers of unintended pregnancies and new HIV infections if the issue isn’t quickly addressed.
When people are idle, sex is likely at the top of the list of activities. That’s why often during the festive season, you’ll see an increased demand for emergency contraception and this is because many are home and spending more time with their sexual partners. However, this only protects against pregnancy and not HIV or STIs.
During festive parties, many people use alcohol and drugs that often lead to irresponsible sexual behaviors. Without the provision of free condoms where and when needed, it means many will be exposed to sexually transmitted infections including HIV and unintended pregnancies even those who would want and know how to protect themselves.
Promoting responsible sexual behaviors includes ensuring people have access to information and commodities that enable them to do so.
We must now look beyond numbers and see the vulnerabilities of that young person who is about to engage in sex yet is unable to access a condom that provides dual protection and is easy to use.
When did you last access free government condoms? What ‘alternative method’ to safe sex are you using?