Foundation urges Government to zero rate condom imports

Dr. Samuel Kinyanjui, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Country Director has called on the Government to adopt policies that will make condoms more affordable and accessible, to roll back the rising cases of sexually transmitted diseases among young adults.

Dr. Kinyanjui cautioned that a person living with HIV/AIDS will cost the government an estimated Sh25,000 annually, while the government’s investment in the availability of condoms to prevent HIV infection will cost the Government a paltry Sh1,200 per person.

“Currently condoms in Kenya are being taxed because they are categorized as a medical device. We are urging the policy makers and regulators to categorize condoms as a medical supply so that they can be tax free,” he said.  

He spoke at a time when the country faces the surge of a new strain of multi-drug resistant super gonorrhoea and rising cases of HIV infection among the young adults. He also decried the high taxes slapped on condom procurements, including a 16% VAT, affecting the price of available condoms. 
“Condoms offer triple defence, especially among teenagers and the youth; prevention against HIV infection, unwanted pregnancies, and protection against other STIs. We are talking about 90% protection as opposed to other alternatives such post-exposure prophylaxis (PEPs), which involves taking taking medicine to prevent HIV after a possible exposure,” he emphasized.  

He was speaking during a series of events that AHF Kenya has organised in Nairobi, Thika, Kisii and KIlifi as part of its condom use advocacy campaign among the youth. This comes against a backdrop of the Health Cabinet Secretary, Susan Nakhumicha advocating for abstinence as the foremost HIV infection prevention method for young adults; with condom use as the second.

Towards the end of last year, the National Aids Control Council (NACC) noted that adolescents and young people aged 29 years and below account for over 61 per cent of all new HIV infections in the country.
Kenya is currently facing a severe shortage of condoms, putting the sexual health and HIV prevention efforts of citizens at risk. Despite being one of the countries hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Stanley Ngara, commonly known as the “King of Condoms,” said the country currently needs “about 480 million condoms annually, while the Government is providing an estimated 250 condoms per year.”  
The Government, in a recent statement said it was procuring 150 million pieces of condoms. This falls far short of a forecasted demand of 262 million for the July 2022 to June 2023 financial year.  

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