The shortage of condoms in Kenya is forcing men to recycle used condoms as others settle for plastic bags.
A report published by the Daily Nation says residents living in Archers Post, a small town serving as a transit point to Marsabit County and Moyale town on the Kenya-Ethiopia border, are recycling used condoms to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections.
The town which splits Isiolo and Samburu counties, writes the publication, is popular with local and international tourists which has resulted in a spike of sex work. The training of military personnel for both local forces and British soldiers around the town is also said to have contributed to the town’s rapid growth.
“The town’s growth has come with its share of shortcomings since it has seen a number of young women flock the area to engage in prostitution” writes the paper.
The shortage of male condoms which are more popular in the town has led residents to come up with various alternatives, which include washing used condoms and using polythene paper.
“A section of the area residents claimed that the supply of male condoms has been so low that some locals have taken to recycling the rare commodity while others use polythene papers to protect themselves during sexual intercourse” it added.
These unconventional methods have led to the spread of HIV/Aids in the area, said the publication.
“The spread of HIV and Aids has been worsened by a section of locals who normally wash used male condoms due to its scarcity especially after the government banned use of polythene carrier bags last year,” a man identified as Mr Julius Lelesit told the publication.
A few free condoms that cannot even sustain the demand are also being sold by individuals who muster the courage to collect them from dispensers in health facilities.
Although female condoms have been available in the town for more than a decade, they are not yet popular with local residents, the report said.
Apart from the ignorance on use of female condoms, many of the town’s residents have not come across the product whereas some men are skeptical, questioning whether their wives would ever get pregnant after using female condoms.