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Over 100,000 condoms distributed in Homa Bay ahead of Valentine's Day

NYANZA
By James Omoro | February 13th 2021

Residents of Homa Bay County pick condoms at Homa Bay Pier beach during the International Condoms Day. [James Omoro, Standard]

Over 100,000 condoms have been distributed to Homa Bay County residents to prevent new HIV infections during Valentine’s Day.

The condoms were distributed today in various parts of the county to mark the International Condoms Day.

The condoms were distributed by the Homa Bay County Department of Health and a non-governmental organisation known as Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to protect residents from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies.

According to statistics the Kenya Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (Kenphia) because Homa Bay has the highest prevalence rate of HIV infection at 19.6 per cent which translates to 138,000 people who infected by the virus in the county.

AIDS and STIs county coordinator Justus Ochola said the county suffers new HIV infection rate of 4.6 per cent per annum.

Youths and children form 33 per cent of the infections. The youth mostly get infected because they are sexually active and end up engaging risky sexual behaviours.

Engaging in sex

Children are infected by their mothers, especially during unskilled delivery.

 The Co-ordinator in charge of Prevention at AHF in Western Region Penninah Mauda said her organisation undertook its activities in Homa Bay because of the high HIV infection rate in the county.

Mauda said many people have a habit of engaging in sexual intercourse on Valentine’s Day hence the condoms will enable them to protect themselves.

“Our message is that anybody who wants to have sex with an unknown partner should use condoms. This is aimed at preventing HIV and other STIs,” said Mauda.

She said Covid-19 lockdowns and other restrictions had limited access to condoms hence the need to give out condoms

“Let residents take advantage of our efforts because we have brought condoms closer,” said Mauda said.

She told residents to understand that primary prevention of the disease is significant.

 Ochola added that the event was meant to sensitise residents to understand the significance of using condoms.

Condom myths

He told them to shun myths and misconceptions surrounding condom use.

Ochola told locals to shun any myths about protected sex adding that proper use of condoms is the only way to live free from HIV infections.

“There are people who say the use of condoms is a sign of mistrust among sexual partners besides other wrong information. Avoid any myths on use of condoms because that is the only we can live longer,” said Ochola.

He urged expectant women to seek delivery services from qualified health personnel to prevent transmission of HIV from to their children.

 “Some expectant women who are HIV positive seek delivery services from traditional midwives and this predisposes their children to infection of the virus,” he said.

Ochola told residents to pick the condoms from strategic places including lodgings, hotels, health facilities and other social and entertainment joints where they had been placed.

He also urged men to undergo voluntary medical male circumcision to reduce their risks of contracting the virus.

 The team sensitised boda boda riders and fishmongers in Homa Bay town on safe sex.

Some residents welcomed the move saying it will cushion them from STIs.

“Many youths associate Valentine’s Day with sex and the condoms will help those who might want to engage in the act,” said Janet Akoth, a resident of Homa Bay town.

Some locals however took issue with the distribution of condoms, saying it was encouraging youths to engage in sex.

 “I am viewing condom distribution as a way of encouraging youths to practise sex. My appeal is that they should practise safe sex,” said Julius Okumu.

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