A group of more than 200 people living with HIV/Aids in Nyeri County have protested over shortage of condoms in the area. The people living in Witemere and Majengo slums in Nyeri town wash and reuse condoms.
The group, which was protesting in the Nyeri town streets over the weekend, was led by National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV in Kenya coordinator Nelson Otuoma.
A member of the organisation, Jane Kagure, said HIV positive people in Nyeri slums wash and and reuse condoms because of the shortage."We are washing them after use as there are no more free condoms in the clinics where we attend. We are fearing that this might increase re-infection," Kagure said.
The group petitioned the government to initiate a HIV/Aids trust fund in this year's National Budget."The current shortage of ARVs and condoms could have averted if there was a local fund to cater for the issue," Otuoma added.
They said the government relies heavily on foreign funds to fight the virus. This, he said, puts Aids patients at risk, especially if the aid is withdrawn."What would happen to those on ARVs if the foreign aid is stopped? They will die or be exposed to ARV resistance leading to untold sufferings," Otuom said.
He said two years ago, about 1.4 million Kenyans were infected and only about 800,000 had access to ARVs while the remainder became resistant or died.
Otuoma said the government through the established fund would give prevention a priority noting that it was the only effective and sure method to win the war on HIV/ AIDS.
The coordinator added that Nenphak is seeking one million signatures from people living positively to present to the Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi in September this year to pressure the government initiate the fund. He further said people on ARVs are living in fear as they do not know when foreign taps would run dry sending them to an early grave.
Nyeri Nenphak coordinator Jane Waitherero claimed funds set aside through CACCs did not benefit people as evidenced by new infections.
On the trust fund, Waitherero said "if the government had set aside money, people would not suffer."