Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Expert raises festive season Aids alert

By NATION Correspondent

An Aids expert has warned of an increase in infections this festive season.

Dr Nicholas Muraguri, who is the head of the National Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections Control Programme (Nascop), said thousands of young people are likely to engage in unprotected sex — many for the first time — and, therefore, expose themselves to infection.

He advised the youth to use condoms should they have any sexual encounter.

“If you must have sex, please use a condom. You can get them (condoms) for free from your nearest health centre,” he said.

Drugs and alcohol

Dr Muraguri also warned of more cases of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies, adding that many young people will be exposed to drugs and alcohol.

Speaking to the Nation on phone on Tuesday, Mr Muraguri said that during the Christmas season, many young people, especially in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, will indulge in unbecoming behaviour.

Dr Muraguri also said that most of the youths graduating from initiation will have sex for the first time, especially in rural areas.

Unprotected sex

“Reports from our field officers show that young men fresh from circumcision often indulge in unprotected sex out of curiosity,” he said.

Of these, Dr Muraguri said that only 25 per cent of the first-timers will be using condoms.

According to him, most vulnerable are high school leavers who will be spending their first Christmas holiday after clearing school.

“Many of them will be celebrating Christmas knowing that they will not be going back to school next year,” he said, adding “this will expose them to unsafe and unprotected sex.”

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