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Condom scarcity in Kenya spells HIV/AIDS doom for Uganda

Condom scarcity in Kenya spells HIV/AIDS doom for Uganda
  • 20 sex workers cross to Uganda each day to ask for condoms
  • The border sex trade boasts close to 2,000 sex workers

Authorities in the border District of Busia are concerned that Uganda might experience an increase in cases of HIV/AIDS among other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) following a shortage of condoms on Kenya's side.

Amosiah Ongatai, the manager of Youth Environment Service, a non-governmental organisation involved in HIV/AIDS prevention and counselling, says that the situation is a potential health crisis in the busy sex trade in the area.

“We have close to 2,000 sex workers across the Ugandan and Kenyan borders, and with the flourishing sex trade, we are worried about being hit by a surge in infections,” Ongatai said.

Allegedly, the shortage has forced sex workers in Busia, Kisumu, Kakamega, Bungoma and Malaba to recycle used condoms by washing them.


Ronald Barasa, the HIV/AIDS focal person at Amalgamated Transporters and General Workers Union, which is involved in the prevention, testing, and counselling of sex workers at the border, revealed that each day, they get over 20 sex workers from Kenya requesting for condoms.

“They have been telling us that in their country, they have run out of condoms,” Barasa said.

Cosmas Okale, a health official at Busia-Kenya, expressed similar concerns to Ongatai in an interview on Wednesday.

“We are having issues related to the supply of condoms, which has lasted for over a year and we fear it may escalate the rate of HIV infections.”

One of the sex workers who agreed to comment under anonymity said that the shortage is a "real" crisis in Kenya. Sex workers from as far as Kakamega and Bungoma have braved the long distance to the border to "borrow" condoms from them.


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