TAITA – TAVETA COUNTY joined the rest of the world to mark the International Condom Day Commemoration on 12th February 2022, a day before the official day commemorated every year on 13th February.   The International Condom Day is commemorated to promote condoms for preventing unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.

Speaking during the event, the chief guest Dr Patrick Oyaro from USAID, Stawisha Pwani Chief of Party, emphasized the need for the youth to take the advice on HIV Prevention seriously through occasions such as during the commemoration of the International Condom Day.  He said statistics from World Health Organisation indicate that 1 million STIs are acquired every day globally.  Therefore, the need to advocate for condom promotion with consistent and correct use amongst the sexually active population.

Mr Omar Mwanjama, the National AIDS Control Council’s Regional HIV Coordinator, Coast region, called on the people to avoid wastage of condoms.  The current statistics show that the country failed to meet the needed 424 million condoms with only 190 million condoms supplied by the government.  He called on partners to come on board to support the government in filling the gap by providing free condoms to the people.

The County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Health Services, John Mwakima, commended the collaboration spirit with partners in the county to promote condoms for preventing STIs, including HIV and unplanned pregnancies.  He was accompanied by CECM Devolution, Public Service and Administration Laban Mwashighadi, who reminded the youth of the “ABCs” (Abstinence, Being Faithful, Using Condoms”) approach as a way of preventing HIV.  Also in attendance was  CECM Youth, Sports, Gender, Culture and Social Services, Vumi Ringo, who reminded the youth to resist sex without protection.  “If you cannot zip it, use a condom when having sex as this is the only sure way to protect yourself and the person you are having sex with,” she said.

Last year, the National National AIDS Control Council (NACC) adopted a National Condom Strategy that aims at promoting safer sex as a way to scale up the control of STIs, including HIV and unintended pregnancies.  In 2021, over 28,076 new HIV infections were reported in Kenya, and these new infections accounted for approximately 84% of all new HIV infections in the country.  These statistics call for continued promotion of condom use as part of HIV combination prevention.  Both female and male condoms are at the centre in scaling up HIV prevention because they remain one of the effective means of preventing sexual transmission of HIV.

The NACC, in partnership with AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), and partners supported the event whose theme was “Safer Sex Is Fun With a Condom”.  During the event, various entertainment and performances passed condom education with  demonstrations on female and male condom use through art and talent.  The event was climaxed by the crowning of the college’s Queen and King of Condom who vowed to ensure consistent and accurate use of condoms to control HIV among the youth in the institution and the community around.