Walking 26 km for a condom, Kenya.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Condoms (Usage)
Health education (Usage)
Pub Date: 05/01/2011
Publication: Name: Reproductive Health Matters Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers Audience: General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Family and marriage; Health; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Reproductive Health Matters ISSN: 0968-8080
Issue: Date: May, 2011 Source Volume: 19 Source Issue: 37
Product: Product Code: 3069770 Prophylactics & Diaphragms NAICS Code: 326299 All Other Rubber Product Manufacturing SIC Code: 3069 Fabricated rubber products, not elsewhere classified
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Kenya Geographic Code: 6KENY Kenya
Accession Number: 259077143
Full Text: Correct and consistent condom use is one of the bedrocks of Kenya's HIV/AIDS prevention programme but people in rural areas have limited access to condoms. A 21-year-old Maasai moran (warrior) in Kenya's Rift Valley has to walk to Narok hospital, 26km away, to fetch condoms. The head of the National AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections Control Programme believes that knowledge and awareness about condoms both in rural and urban areas could be above 90%. However, erratic funding and supply chain problems have led to fluctuations in condom distribution over the years. According to the UNAIDS Modes of Transmission Analysis 2008, condom distribution is very low generally and very unequal. Ineffective condom placement--for example at a chief's camp where young men are reluctant to venture--can also hinder access. Despite shyness, condoms in health centres go fast. (1)

Local TV channels recently showed men in Isiolo, northern Kenya, washing condoms and hanging them out to dry; the men said they could not afford to use them just once. Other men in the village said when they had no access to condoms they used polythene bags or cloth rags when having sex. The recycling of condoms shows how desperate people are to have safer sex. The government needs to be innovative in getting condoms to remote villages. The Ministry of Health says the country faces an acute, nationwide shortage of condoms; it has appealed to the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, to supply 45 million condoms. (2)

(1.) Kenya: walking 26km for a condom. Irin PlusNews, 2 December 2010.

(2.) Kenya: condom recycling highlights gaps in HIV prevention programming. Irin PlusNews, 29 Match 2011.
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