Survey reveals that Kenyan youth preferred taking PEP tablets to using protection

SAFARI RALLY Survey reveals that Kenyan youth preferred taking PEP tablets to using protection

Abigael Wafula 11:17 - 01.04.2024

The National Syndemic Diseases Control Council dispatched more than 200,000 free condoms at the Safari rally but youth preferred taking the PEP drugs as compared to using the condoms.

More than 200,000 free condoms were distributed by the National Syndemic Diseases Control Council (NSDCC) at the just concluded 2024 World Rally Championship (WRC) rally in Naivasha.

During the event, the NSDCC offered prevention services such as condom distribution, HIV tests, and information about pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs (Prep), and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Prep is a medicine taken to prevent getting HIV and is taken several days before exposure while PEP means taking HIV medicines within 72 hours (3 days) after a possible exposure to HIV to prevent HIV. PEP must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV.

According to the NSDCC, more youngsters were taking PEP tablets as compared to using protection, which was used by very few individuals. NSDCC CEO Ruth Masha noted health workers do not usually allow people to abuse post-exposure drugs because they should be taken only in emergencies.

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"The high demand for PEP indicates successful awareness about it, but also possible misuse. We have a challenge because young people are waiting for risk to happen then they come.

"What they need are condoms. Last year, we had 117 people turning positive even after taking PEP because they came late,” Masha told K24 Sport.

In addition to that, she explained that the drugs do not prevent pregnancy and other sexually transmitted infections, which are on the rise.

Meanwhile, NSDCC said they reached more than 10,000 young people with HIV tests at the Naivasha rally after deploying more than 100 staff and community health promoters in six spectator sections of the rally.

"We didn’t want this Safari Rally to take us by surprise. We have made a lot of progress and did not want that progress to be rolled back,” she added.