YOUNG KENYANS SEEK FREE MORNING AFTER PILLS AGAINST HIV INFECTION
It is reported that Kenyans are using emergency Aids medicine as if they are somehow an alternative to safe sex whilst in the meantime a known and proven method of avoiding Aids, the condom, is once again in short supply in Kenya.
The Daily Nation reports (see ‘Youths abusing drugs meant for HIV emergencies’) that young Kenyans are practicing unsafe sex and then going to public hospitals for ‘Post Exposure Prophylaxis’ pills (‘PEP’ pills) which are usually administered to health workers and victims of sexual crimes that may have come into contact with HIV-infected blood or fluid.
‘FREE’ PILLS AT A COST
If taken within 72 hours of contact with HIV infected material the PEP pills taken over 28 days can protect the recipient but they are no alternative to safe sex and of course they cost public hospitals a great deal of money because they are provided free.
Doctors are also concerned that many of those taking the PEP pills are not keeping with the full programme of six tablets a day for the 28 days and end up with the worst of both worlds, a costly treatment that does not protect the patient.
‘LOOMING SHORTAGE’ OF CONDOMS
The humble condom is cheap and does provide protection against HIV infection but that’s assuming you get a supply of them in the first place.
The National Empowerment Network for People Living with HIV and Aids in Kenya (NephaK) has warned that yet again there is a ‘looming shortage’ of condoms in the country (see ‘Group raises concern over looming condom shortage in the country’ in today’s Standard).
NephaK has asked President Kenyatta to direct the National Treasury to buy more condoms and at the same time has argued that the State Department of Health under James Macharia should stop directing County Health Directors to buy condoms from small local budgets. This is one area, Nephak argue, where public policy should not be devolved.
We have been here before (just put the word ‘Condoms’ into the ‘Search box’ at the top right hand corner of this website and read on) and the Kenya Forum cannot work out quite understand why Kenya has this periodic panic over prophylactic supplies.