Sex workers forced to wash, and reuse condoms due to acute shortage


Sex workers have taken extreme measures to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases following the lack or scarcity of condoms.

The protection, which appears ineffective, comes after bars, restaurants, hospitals, health facilities, and other public facilities failed to restock condoms, making it hard for the sex worker to access the tools of the trade.

This is despite assurances by the Health Cabinet Secretary, Susan Nakhumicha, that there is no condom shortage in the country, and that the government was in control.

“We have a lapse in terms of managing that process, but we are working together to streamline it so that it takes the shortest time possible between a request and a delivery for condoms,” the Health CS added.

Some of the sex workers who spoke to The Nairobian said that they were earning as little as 100 shillings for a shot during these tough economic times, and they were forced to devise ways of surviving in the trade so that they could put food on the table and pay basic bills.

Forced to reuse

For instance, Eunice Wanyama, a widower who became a sex worker to pay her bills, told a local media house that getting condoms to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases remains a big problem, and sometimes they are forced to use one condom twice.

“I received a regular client who normally pays me well but, on this day, he didn’t have a condom. Condoms were out of stock at the Malaba border; even those that are sold in local shops were unavailable,” Wanyama told NTV late last year on the Malaba border.

Wanyama said that they are forced to wash the condoms and reuse them for different clients so that they can make small returns. She added that the condoms end up bursting on several occasions, exposing them to STDs and unwanted pregnancies.

“There is a way we are wearing them so that we can easily wash them.” However, they still burst. “I remember I had syphilis a few weeks ago,” she said.

The celebrated “king of condoms,” Stanley Ngara, who is known for championing safe ways of having sex among sex workers, said that some of them are forced to use the withdrawal method, hoping that they won’t get an STD or pregnant. Ngara added that as a result, some clients refused to pay the sex workers, claiming that they must cum inside the women to justify their pay.

“I always say and believe that the only withdrawal should be done over the phone, where you are withdrawing money. Any other withdrawal is dangerous and bad,” Ngara said.

“Many people having sex and believing in the withdrawal method are risking their lives.”


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