'Unrodworthy': Alarm as youth snub condom supplies in 'Vasha'

A man holding a condom in his hands.[iStockphoto]

The fourth edition of the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Naivasha at the weekend lived up to its reputation as an opportunity for the young and restless to have fun, fornicate, and drink, not necessarily in that order.

Dressed in long dresses and in remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the worshippers humbled themselves as they marked the end of the Lent season.

During the weekend, group sex among mostly college students who arrived was the norm in the evenings and even along the rally routes.

Hours after the rally drivers finished the competition in Soysambu and Hellsgate National Park, the youth turned to open sex in cars and bushes.

For the elderly heading home, the sights were disgusting as the semi-naked youths made it to the roadside, unperturbed by the number of motorists watching.

A taxi driver, Pete Kush, said, "For three days, the town was turned into Sodom and Gomorrah as the youths openly engaged in sex on the road, inside cars, and in any available space."

Kush was quick to note that they made a killing as many of those who arrived in the town did not have any other means of transport apart from taxis and boda bodas.

He added, "In terms of business, we cannot complain, but the worrying thing is the amount of sex that went on under our eyes and involving very young girls and boys."

The youths’ conduct has sparked alarms with the authorities expressing concern that many were not concerned about the dangers of engaging in unprotected sex.

According to the National Syndemic Disease Control Council (NSDCC), over 200,000 condoms were distributed freely to the youths, but less than 10,000 were used during the long weekend.

An official from the council stated, "Many of the youths preferred going raw while others said that they trusted their partners and would take emergency contraceptive pills later."

The council raised alarm over increased cases of sexually transmitted infections among young people aged between 15 and 34 years, mostly driven by alcohol and drug abuse.

According to the council, 75 percent of new HIV infections recorded in the country among the youths were driven by the surge in unprotected sex.

Speaking after distributing condoms to the revelers, council CEO Dr. Ruth Laibon Masha said there has been a rapid rise in new sexual infections among the youths.

Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Kisumu recorded the highest cases driven by unprotected sexual intercourse, with fears that the weekend event could worsen things.

Dr. Masha also decried the increased abuse and misuse of pre and post-exposure prophylaxis, with 6.5 percent of cases reported being attributed to unprotected sex due to increased use of alcohol.

The CEO regretted the increases in heroin and other injectable drugs, where more than 26,000 young people have been flagged, adding that the drugs are prone to new infections up to four times.

She stated, "We are seeing a worrying trend where 75 percent out of 22,000 new HIV infections recorded are being borne by a young and productive population between 15 and 34 years."

On her part, the Chief Officer for Public Health in Nakuru, Joyce Ncece, said the county in partnership with the council had established seven key testing and condom distribution points with the Rally routes.

This, according to her, was meant to ensure youths were appraised on proper use of protection, concerns over the rise in infections, and the control measures needed.

Revellers in Naivasha during the World Rally Championship in Naivasha. 

She said that within two days, they had provided sexual infection-related services to over 15,000 youths and distributed HIV self-testing kits to more than 10,000 respondents.

Ncece decried the rapid rise in new HIV and sexual infection cases, which continued to affect young people, noting that the trend reversed the gains made in the decades-long fight against HIV/AIDS in the country. She said, "We were worried by the amount of unprotected sex that goes on during such events and with the support of the council, we managed to put some mitigation measures."

On his part, the African King of Condoms, Stanley Ngara, called for the reduction of taxes on the procurement of condoms to upscale its use, which he noted will contribute to the reduction of HIV and sexual infection cases.

He said, "The fight against HIV/AIDS in the country has borne fruits with the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PREP) uptake helping in large ways to contain a surge in new infections."

Away from the sex parties, cases of drink spiking, theft of phones, and mugging were minimal unlike in previous years due to enhanced security in and around the town and harsh economic times.

Many ‘pishori-babes’ went back disappointed after failing to ‘harvest’ from the tens of revellers who filled various joints in and around the lakeside town. One of the babes, dressed in a short dress ready to show what she was blessed with, said, "Nikama hawa wazee wamesota ama wamelearn the hard way coz hakuna mzee ako na haja na sisi."

According to data from Naivasha police station, only two cases of drink spiking were reported compared to last year when over 50 such cases were reported. "It seems that men have now learned how to deal with these women or that many were broke as only three petty cases were reported," said a junior officer.

For traders, it was a mixed bag of fortunes as major hotels were fully booked, while business was low among small-scale traders due to the low number of visitors compared to previous years.

A hawker, Samuel Muturi, said that many of the revelers came prepared with their food, water, and alcohol, a move that adversely affected their businesses.

He noted that the move by the government to ban hawking along roadsides and closure of bars by 11 pm had negatively impacted their business. He said, "Last year, we made a kill selling food and drinks along the Moi South Lake road in the evening, but this time round this was banned and business was low."

Area residents and leaders attributed the well-managed rally to the strict rules introduced by the law enforcers, which included banning partying and parking along major roads in the town.

According to Ronnie Muraya, a member of the Naivasha Hotelier Association, this year’s event was well-planned despite the low publicity it was accorded. He noted that the presence of police officers mainly along the Moi South Lake Road was an added advantage that saw motorists behave and avoid overlapping. "The number of visitors during the weekend was low, but it picked up on Sunday during the final day and kudos to the police for managing the event well," he said.

Viwandani MCA Mwangi Muraya said that cases of crime had gone down during the weekend despite the high number of revellers.

"We laud police officers for a job well done in terms of security and despite a few cases of petty crime, there was peace and fun in the town during the rally and the Easter weekend," he said. Naivasha OCPD Stephen Kirui noted that experience had guided them in their preparations for the move to ban parties along Moi South Lake Road, which was a success.

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