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Spotlight Series: HIV Stigma and Discrimination
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Kenyan President Shy to Talk About Condoms as Hundreds Die Daily from AIDS-Related Illnesses

July 16, 2001

Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi says he is embarrassed to talk about condoms and advises people to just avoid having sex. Speaking last Wednesday to the country's Pharmaceutical Society, the 76-year-old leader said he felt "shy" to have to speak publicly about condoms and AIDS. He also urged Kenyans to go without sex for two years. "I think the president is embarrassed because . . . the government has to allocate billions of shillings to import condoms, and it is no longer an issue of morals but a matter of life and death," said Sylvia Maina, a 22-year-old university student. A year ago Condomi AG, a German-based condom manufacturer, announced plans to build a factory in Kenya that could have produced millions of condoms. Discouraged by government red tape and lack of responsiveness, the company moved its project to South Africa.

Seven hundred people die every day from AIDS in Kenya, according to reports. Faced with more than two million HIV-positive Kenyans and with half the beds in government hospitals occupied by AIDS patients, Moi two years ago declared AIDS a national emergency. The World Bank has provided Kenya with "soft loans" -- loans with low interest and long repayment periods. These soft loans, totaling $100 million, will help pay for some 300 million condoms over a four-year period, according to Dr. Kenneth Chebet, head of the AIDS control unit in the ministry of health.

Back to other CDC news for July 16, 2001

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Adapted from:
Associated Press
07.13.01; Tom Maliti

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
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10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More on HIV Prevention in Kenya