CONDOM SHORTAGE

Condom shortage hits Naivasha as Safari Rally gets underway

The WRC has seen an upsurge of visitors to the town, including sex workers, leading to a shortage of condoms.

In Summary

• Naivasha, better known to fun lovers as Vasha, is a popular vacation destination for holidaymakers.

• But the hosting of the WRC has seen an upsurge of visitors to the town, including sex workers, leading to a shortage of condoms.

A display of female condoms during World AIDS Day at Undugu grounds on 1, December 2021.
FILE A display of female condoms during World AIDS Day at Undugu grounds on 1, December 2021.
Image: MERCY MUMO

An acute condom shortage has hit Naivasha town as rally lovers continue trooping into the popular vacation destination to witness the ongoing World Safari Rally championships.

The event started on Thursday and is scheduled to end on Sunday, June 26.

Naivasha, better known to fun lovers as Vasha, is a popular vacation destination for holidaymakers.

But the hosting of the WRC has seen an upsurge of visitors to the town, including sex workers, leading to a shortage of condoms.

Stanley Ngara, commonly known as the ‘King of Condom’ says freely distributed government of Kenya condoms have run out.

“We have managed to buy and distribute to our lovely Kenyans. The demand is very high as we are talking. The sex workers are busy,” Stanley said.

The King of Condom spends his days educating people about safe sex practices and distributing condoms.

He is passionate about raising awareness on issues of sexual reproductive health and rights, including HIV and AIDS.

Stanley distributes the sheaths freely to different groups including the youth, sex workers, boda boda riders, university students, market traders and even drug users.

He says he has been a busy man since the Safari Rally event got underway on Thursday.

“Most of the businesses are now working 24 hours. I have spoken to a hotel businessman and he says his sales for condoms are very high,” Stanley said.

He said since free condoms from the government ran out, they have had to buy between 7,000, to 10,000 condoms with help from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a global AIDS organization to distribute to most vulnerable groups – sex workers.

“As per yesterday night (Thursday) we did a spot check and there was no sex worker on the streets and they are so many that means a lot of activities are happening here in Naivasha,” Stanley told the Star on phone.

“But we are encouraging people if you can buy condoms to protect yourself please do so,” Stanley said.

He was, however, quick to point out that the condom shortage has hit the entire country.

“For the last six months there have not be free condoms from the government. We don’t know what is happening,” Stanley said.

"We are buying from Nairobi because the shop we were buying from here they are finished."

The King of Condom urged the government to move with speed like it did during fuel shortage and provide supplies.

He further called on the government to reduce taxes on condoms to enable traders to import them into the country and bridge the current shortfall.

"There is a lot of social activities in this month and next month and we need to save our people,” Stanley said.

"Remember we have the politics, we have the campaigns and we have the Safari rally."

His sentiments were echoed by Peninah Mwangi, the chief director of Bar Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme.

"The girls have recorded a booming business in Naivasha nobody is complaining about the cold. Our girls are having a good time but we are worried about the condom shortage.

"The government needs to do something about it because everybody there is in an entertainment mood. They are enjoying the rally but really many people have come for other entertainment," she said.

A 2019 report on the current HIV situation in Kenya revealed that only 44 per cent of males reported using condoms during their last sexual encounter they considered high-risk.

It said only 14 condoms are used by one man per year against the global target of 40 condoms per man per year.

Only 40 per cent of females reported using a condom at their last sexual encounter they considered high-risk.

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