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Condom shortage forcing Thika residents to wash old ones for reuse.

Stanley Ngara or "The King of Condoms" (left) chats with some Kiandutu residents as he distributes free condoms to the residents.

An acute condom deficit has hit the country jeopardising the war against HIV/AIDS.

Some Kiandutu residents have now confessed to washing condoms for reuse due to scarcity and the financial constraints as they claim that they are expensive.

“I have no money to purchase a female condom. The money I have can only buy me unga and vegetables. I thereby have no option but to wash my condom severally for reuse,” said Martha Wangari.

Martha says that she is not alone in the practice as most women were doing so due to the unavailability of free female condoms which were rather expensive compared to those used by men.

Speaking after distributing over 10,000 condoms to Kiandutu slum, Stanley Ngara, a HIV/AIDS crusader in Thika, the shortage has been most in the slums, forcing some of the residents wash used condoms for reuse.

Ngara is worried that the country might lose the gains made so far in the prevention of HIV and AIDS if the shortage persisted.

“'If we are talking about HIV prevention, condom is very key. There is a big deficit in supply of condom especially in the informal settlements like Kiandutu and Gachagi which is negatively affecting the progress made in the fight against the scourge. People are being forced to wash used condoms for reuse,” explained Ngara, popularly known as the ‘King of Condoms’.

Ngara admitted that people living in slums engaged in sexual relationships in great numbers thus there was need for regular distribution of the essential commodity to avert HIV infections.

“In slums, young girls start engaging into sexual intercourse at a very tender age due some of the challenges they encounter. Women are also forced to indulge in sexual relationships for food and money to pay rent,” he explained.

“No one is to blame for this. Otherwise, Kenyans should stop burying their heads in the sand and should join hands in the fight,” he added,

He appealed to residents to go for voluntary testing in order to know their status.

According to statistics by the National Empowerment Network for People Living with HIV and Aids (NEPHAK), Kenya is ranked fourth worldwide after India, Nigeria and South Africa respectively in HIV/AIDS prevalence.

About 15 million Kenyans were sexually active making it necessary to sensitise people on prevention of the AIDS scourge.

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