A National Aids Control Council (NACC) survey has found that the average sexually active Kenyan man uses only 14 condoms in a year, less than half of the recommended number.
NACC, a State Corporation, has expressed worry over the low usage given that condoms have prevented up to 45 million HIV infections since the first case of the virus was reported in the East African nation.
According to the Council, every Kenyan man has access to at least 25 free male condoms distributed by the government even as condoms are still recognized as the safest way to prevent spread of HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and unwanted pregnancies.
Speaking to journalists, Joab Khasewa – a monitoring and evaluation officer at NACC – noted that experts recommend the use of at least 40 condoms annually for sexually active men.
The statistics come against a background of an ongoing shortage of the free condoms distributed by the government of Kenya.
The shortage of male condoms witnessed in 2021 is likely to end in March 2022, after the government ordered more condoms expected to land in the country next month.
NACC, however, worries the condoms will go to waste as few Kenyan men are using condoms.
The last time the government procured condoms was in 2020 leaving a huge shortage of the contraceptive.
“Approximately, 190 million male condoms were distributed in 2020 compared to a need of 424 million leaving a gap of 234 million male condoms,” the NACC official pointed out.
The free condoms program could, however, face challenges following reports of a shortage of funding.
The program is dependent on donor funding which has reduced significantly with donors citing heavy taxation of the commodity as a hinderance.
“With reduction in donor funding, the future of free condoms, which is entirely reliant on donor funding, is uncertain,” Khasewa said.
Free condoms are key in supporting sexually vulnerable groups such as persons living with HIV, and those who may not be able to afford condoms sold commercially.
The Council has asked Kenyans to take advantage of the adequate stock of commercial condoms at their disposal.
The Ministry of Health is also working to popularize female condoms which are yet to gain acceptance among the Kenyan population due to their limited accessibility, limited knowledge on how to use them, and general stigma.
Female condoms work as efficiently as male condoms.