NAIROBI, 26 November 2009 (PlusNews) - Kenyan men and women are
continuing to have unprotected sex with multiple partners -
despite numerous national media campaigns to sensitise the public
to the dangers of sex without a condom and multiple partners.
According to the preliminary findings of the 2008/2009 Kenya
Demographic and Health Survey, only 32 percent of women and 37
percent of men who reported having multiple sexual partners said
they used a condom during their last sexual encounter.
"One of the biggest reasons for lack of condom use amongst people
engaged in multiple partnering is the belief that they know those
partners well and can therefore engage in unprotected sex with
them, which is a misplaced belief," said Lucy Maikweki, deputy
director, HIV and communications, at the reproductive health NGO,
Population Services International (PSI).
PSI and the government are running a national "Wacha mpango wa
kando; epuka ukimwi" - Swahili for "Stop relationships on the
side; avoid HIV" - campaign.
"People engage in multiple sexual relationships for various
reasons; for most women for instance, it could be due to
financial needs... most men do it for pleasure," she added.
Men are more likely to use condoms than women, with 62 percent of
men and 35 percent of women who had sexual intercourse with a
person who was not their husband, wife or cohabiting partner
reporting using a condom in their last sexual intercourse.
"Women have little control over condom use in relationships and
few are able to negotiate for safe sex, especially if they are
relying on the man for financial support," Maikweki said. "Women
are afraid to negotiate condom use as it might be seen as a sign
of mistrust in the partner; however, younger women are more able
to negotiate condom use than older women."
Men are twice as likely as women to engage in sex with
non-marital, non-cohabiting partners; the results also showed
that 9 percent of all men had had sex with two or more partners
in the past 12 months, compared with only 1 percent of all women.
The survey found that Kenyan men had an average of 6.3 lifetime
sexual partners, compared with 2.7 for women.