News

Conversation starters for safer sex options

June 17th, 2017
talk before sex

Whether in person or by text, always keep the HIV conversation going.  Start talking about safer sex option with your friends or partner(s). Check out some conversation starters for safer sex  below…..    #StartTalking #StopHIV #SaferSex


HIV testing Conversation Starters

June 8th, 2017
Testing for HIV

It is important to have conversations with your partner about HIV testing, but that can be a lot easier said than done. Worried about how your new or existing guy or lady is going to react? You’re not alone, many men and women have those fears. Check out HIV testing conversation starters below: 


Start Talking. Stop HIV.

May 26th, 2017
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Talk Condoms

Talk to your partners and friends about condoms. There are more HIV prevention options than ever before, and condoms are still a highly effective option to prevent both HIV and other STDs.

If you use them the right way every time you have sex, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV infection. But it’s important to educate yourself about how to use them the right way.

Condoms can also help prevent other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) you can get through body fluids, like gonorrhea and chlamydia. However, they provide less protection against STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact, like human papillomavirus or HPV (genital warts), genital herpes, and syphilis.

Start talking about the HIV prevention options that work for you.

Talk PrEP

Talk to your partners and friends about PrEP. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention option that works by taking one pill every day. When taken daily it can greatly reduce your risk of getting HIV. You can protect yourself even more if you use condoms and other prevention tools.

People at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily as PrEP to lower their chances of getting infected. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently. And remember, PrEP protects you against HIV but not against other STDs.

Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%. Your risk of getting HIV from sex can be even lower if you combine PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods.

There are more HIV prevention options than ever before. Learn more about PrEP to decide if it is right for you.

Talk Testing

Talk to your partners and friends about knowing your status and getting tested. Knowing your HIV status helps you choose options to stay healthy. HIV testing is free, fast, and confidential. The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested.

CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. A general rule for those with risk factors is to get tested annually. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing (for example, every 3 to 6 months).

Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partner healthy.

There are more HIV prevention options than ever before. Start talking about the options that work for you.

Talk Treatment

Talk to your partners and friends about how being on HIV treatment and having an undetectable viral load is also HIV prevention.

If you are living with HIV, having an undetectable viral load level means that the amount of HIV in your blood is so low it can’t be measured. It is the goal of HIV treatment and is important for your health. But it also makes it very unlikely to pass HIV to a partner.

Today, an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV in  Kenya. Thanks to better treatments, people with HIV are now living longer—and with a better quality of life—than ever before. If you are living with HIV, it’s important to make choices that keep you healthy and protect others.

Start medical care and begin HIV treatment as soon as you are diagnosed with HIV. Taking medicine to treat HIV, called antiretroviral therapy or ART, is recommended for all people with HIV. Taking medicine to treat HIV slows the progression of HIV and helps protect your immune system. The medicines can keep you healthy for many years and greatly reduces your chance of transmitting HIV to sex partners if taken the right way, every day.

If you’re taking medicine to treat HIV, visit your health care provider regularly and always take your medicine as directed to keep your viral load (the amount of HIV in the blood and elsewhere in the body) as low as possible.

Starting and staying on treatment will help you to be undetectable. Start talking about the options that work for you.


Stop the hate and show some love to the LGBT community

May 17th, 2017
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Imagine a Kenya where not a single soul was hurt or affected by the painful words of prejudice. Imagine a Kenya where Gay people and Lesbians could roam the streets, untouched by the discriminatory words of others. Imagine a Kenya where Gay people and lesbians are not given a label as “illegal” or un-African”. Imagine a Kenya where there is no distinction between “them” and “us.” Imagine a Kenya where a young gay person or lesbian can be proud of his or her sexual orientation and not be ashamed to tell people about it. Imagine the peace we could have upon us all.

Picture sitting in a room with your friends, a day before holiday season begins, talking about your vacation amongst your friends. Picture a 20 year old gay or lesbian telling everyone in the room about the trip he or she is taking with their lover and everyone in the room is full of excitement and no one discriminates them. Now, picture a man in the back of the room shouting out, “Watch out for sinners,” while everyone laughs. This is not right at all.  No one should have to deal with such derogatory comments or even hide his or her sexual orientation for the sake of staying safe.

We now live in a time in which you will be seen differently based on what religion and culture states and you will be judged and labeled if you go against what religion and culture states.

Being stopped and questioned in public, being denied access to health care services, education, work and other human rights just because you are gay or lesbian makes people feel unsafe. These are just a few examples of the many forms of discrimination gays and lesbians face every day.

 

Today, homophobia is even depicted by the media here in Kenya. While appeals to the media for accuracy and fairness continue, other forms of media such as radio and written media such as blog headlines regularly use words like “faggot,” “evil people,” “outcast,” and more, all pinned against the LGBT community.

One of the main events which sparked an uproar of hate against the LGBT community was when former president of the United States of America Mr. Barrack Obama came to Kenya to champion for LGBT rights to be respected. 96% of Kenyans including the president and his deputy were against this and said it publicly. Since then, Kenya has been given a new pair of eyes and has begun to see every member of the LGBT community as some kind of threat to society.  Homophobia in Kenya is at its peak and showing no signs to decrease any time soon.

The only way to stop homophobia is through awareness creation. People must understand they are human beings and should be treated with respect and dignity.  The LGBT community mean no harm to anything or anyone.


PrEP

May 8th, 2017
Talk PrEP

What is PrEP

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. A combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), sold under the name Truvada® (pronounced tru vá duh), is approved for daily use as PrEP to help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV from a sexual or injection-drug-using partner who’s positive. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV if it is used as prescribed. PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken consistently.

Why take PrEP

For those at very high risk for HIV, PrEP can significantly reduce your risk of HIV infection if taken daily.  Daily PrEP use can lower the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% and from injection drug use by more than 70%. You can combine additional strategies with PrEP to reduce your risk even further.

Is PrEP a vaccine 

No. PrEP does not work the same way as a vaccine. A vaccine teaches your body to fight off infection for several years. For PrEP, you take a pill every day by mouth. The pill that was shown to be safe and to help block HIV infection is called “Truvada” (pronounced tru vá duh). Truvada is a combination of two drugs (tenofovir and emtricitabine). If you take PrEP daily, the presence of the medicine in your bloodstream can often stop HIV from taking hold and spreading in your body. If you do not take PrEP every day, there may not be enough medicine in your bloodstream to block the virus.

Should i consider taking PrEP

PrEP is for people without HIV who are at very high risk for getting it from sex or injection drug use. The federal guidelines recommend that PrEP be considered for people who are HIV-negative and in an ongoing sexual relationship with an HIV-positive partner.

This recommendation also includes anyone who

PrEP is also recommended for people who have injected drugs in the past 6 months and have shared needles or works or been in drug treatment in the past 6 months.

If you have a partner who is HIV-positive and are considering getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about PrEP if you’re not already taking it. PrEP may be an option to help protect you and your baby from getting HIV infection while you try to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.

Because PrEP involves daily medication and regular visits to a health care provider, it may not be right for everyone. And PrEP may cause side effects like nausea in some people, but these generally subside over time. These side effects aren’t life threatening. 

* Mutually monogamous means that you and your partner only have sex with each other and do not have sex outside the relationship.

How well does PrEP work

Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% when used consistently. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by more than 70% when used consistently.

Is PrEP safe

PrEP can cause side effects like nausea in some people, but these generally subside over time. No serious side effects have been observed, and these side effects aren’t life threatening. If you are taking PrEP, tell your health care provider about any side effects that are severe or do not go away.

How can I start PrEP

PrEP can be prescribed only by a health care provider, so talk to yours to find out if PrEP is the right HIV prevention strategy for you. You must take PrEP daily for it to work. Also, you must take an HIV test before beginning PrEP to be sure you don’t already have HIV and every 3 months while you’re taking it, so you’ll have to visit your health care provider for regular follow-ups.

If i take PrEP, can I stop using a condom when I have sex

No, you should not stop using condoms because you are taking PrEP. PrEP doesn’t give you any protection against other STDs, like gonorrhea and chlamydia. Also, while PrEP can significantly reduce your risk of HIV infection if taken daily, you can combine additional strategies like condom use with PrEP to reduce your risk even further.

If used the right way every time you have sex, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV and some STDs you can get through body fluids, like gonorrhea and chlamydia. However, they provide less protection against STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact, like human papillomavirus or HPV (genital warts), genital herpes, and syphilis

How long do i need to take PrEP

You must take PrEP daily for it to work. But there are several reasons people stop taking PrEP. For example,

  • If your risk of getting HIV infection becomes low because of changes in your life, you may want to stop taking PrEP.
  • If you find you don’t want to take a pill every day or often forget to take your pills, other ways of protecting yourself from HIV infection may work better for you.
  • If you have side effects from the medicine that are interfering with your life, or if blood tests show that your body is reacting to PrEP in unsafe ways, your provider may stop prescribing PrEP for you.

You should discuss this question with your health care provider.

How long do i have to take PrEP before it is effective 

When taken every day, PrEP is safe and highly effective in preventing HIV infection. PrEP reaches maximum protection from HIV for receptive anal sex at about 7 days of daily use. For all other activities, including insertive anal sex, vaginal sex, and injection drug use, PrEP reaches maximum protection at about 20 days of daily use.

 


Talk Treatment

April 30th, 2017
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Talk to your partners and friends about how being on HIV treatment and having an undetectable viral load is also HIV prevention.

 

If you are living with HIV, having an undetectable viral load level means that the amount of HIV in your blood is so low it can’t be measured. It is the goal of HIV treatment and is important for your health. But it also makes it very unlikely to pass HIV to a partner.

 

Today, an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV in Kenya. Thanks to better treatments, people with HIV are now living longer—and with a better quality of life—than ever before. If you are living with HIV, it’s important to make choices that keep you healthy and protect others.

 

Start medical care and begin HIV treatment as soon as you are diagnosed with HIV. Taking medicine to treat HIV, called antiretroviral therapy or ART, is recommended for all people with HIV. Taking medicine to treat HIV slows the progression of HIV and helps protect your immune system. The medicines can keep you healthy for many years and greatly reduces your chance of transmitting HIV to sex partners if taken the right way, every day.

 

If you’re taking medicine to treat HIV, visit your health care provider regularly and always take your medicine as directed to keep your viral load (the amount of HIV in the blood and elsewhere in the body) as low as possible.

 

Starting and staying on treatment will help you to be undetectable.


Every 9 minutes a woman dies needlessly as a result of an unsafe illegal abortion.

April 30th, 2017
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Induced abortion is one of the most performed medical interventions in the world. Abortions will always be necessary as a backup even when women use several forms of contraception. Even when using the best methods such as the contraceptive pill or a condom, the chance of failure is 2% each year.

Poor women are the most likely to be faced with unwanted pregnancy and will provoke an abortion themselves or go to a person without medical training, increasing health risks and the risk of hospitalization due to complications.

According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014, more than a third of all pregnancies in Kenya are unplanned. As a result, every year nearly a quarter of all pregnant women choose to have an abortion.

Even though Kenya has some restrictive abortion laws, it does not reduce the number of abortions. It is estimated that more than 500, 000 abortions are performed here in Kenya annually (ministry of health).

Research has shown that where abortion is illegal, it is primarily women without financial means or information who take recourse to unsafe abortion methods which is among the leading cause of maternal mortality. Every 9 minutes a woman dies needlessly as a result of an unsafe illegal abortion.

Legalization of abortion and availing of safe and above all affordable abortion can prevent unnecessary suffering and death of women. Out of every 100 women that do medical abortions, 2 or 3 women have to go to a doctor to receive further medical care. Furthermore less than 1 in every 500,000 women who use a medical abortion die, making medical abortions safer than childbirth and naturally occurring miscarriages.

Restrictive abortion laws violate women’s human rights based on agreements made at the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights under article 1, 3, 12, 19 and 27.1.

 


We Must Target the Origins of Homophobic Violence: Religion and Culture

March 27th, 2017
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Homophobia is among the major issues affecting Kenyans today. If we are to make meaningful strides, we must also address societal and contexts that create and fuel homophobia in the Kenyan society.

Research has shown that, acts of abuse and violence against LGBT people are a clear symptom of a broader societal problem that must be treated structurally if we are to ever succeed in reducing and eradicating violence against LGBT people in the country.

Homophobic beliefs drive homophobic conduct that occurs in all domains of societal life: at home, at school, in politics, on television, on the Internet, in churches, in organizations, at work and on the streets.

In Kenya, 96 % of its residents believe that homosexuality is a way of life that society should not accept. Traditional religious and cultural values play a substantial role in these figures. Leaders within the three dominate religions in Kenya, Catholic, Anglican and Islamic, condemn homosexuality and transgenderism as signs of decadence, disease, and immorality.

Any discussion about homophobia in Kenya must absolutely reference religion and culture. In general, Religion and culture have played a key role in the fueling of homophobia throughout society. Religious leaders and traditional leaders in Kenya continue to teach extremely negative views about homosexuality and gay people and have taken on an almost national leadership role in the demonization of gay people under the veil of religion.

People who are born into certain religious and cultural environments and grow up hearing toxic anti-gay messages develop negative views about the LGBT. Young and impressionable minds can internalize the notion that gay people are inferior and that homosexuality is an “abomination,” something unnatural and deviant. This infecting of the mind with distorted and false information is an extremely powerful process and in many cases lays the foundation for future anti-LGBT abuse and violence.

Article 32 of the Kenyan constitution provides the “right and freedom of religion.” Well that should also include freedom from religion. I believe that the religious and cultural views of the “majority” should not be used to oppress the minority.

While those who practice particular religions are free to believe whatever they wish to believe and express their views, freedom of expression as stated in article 33 of the Kenyan constitution does not extend to incitement to violence, hate speech or advocacy of hatred that— (i) constitutes ethnic incitement, vilification of others or incitement to cause harm; or (ii) is based on any ground of discrimination specified or contemplated in Article 27 (4) of the Kenyan Constitution. Furthermore article 33 states that, in the exercise of the right to freedom of expression, every person shall respect the rights and reputation of others.

Any effort to seriously reduce or eradicate homophobic abuse and violence in society must address the roles that religion and culture play in the development and fueling of homophobic messages about LGBT people. Together we can defeat the forces of hate and in the process create a better society and world for everyone.


A gay couple attacked in Tana River County

March 21st, 2017
gay-rights-kenya

A gay couple were attacked and badly injured by a homophobic crowd at Mororo town in Tana River County. Both of the gay couple sustained fractured bones in the face and one of them may have lost the vision in his left eye after he was punched directly in the eye by one of homophobic gang assailant.

Ahmed (not his real name) is a doctor and Noor (not his real name) is unemployed. The two are from Garissa County and have been lovers for the past 2 years.  Ahmed wanted to rekindle their love and decided to go with Noor to Mororo which famously know for the cool breeze produced by river Tana. Mororo is located at the border near Garissa County

“We were having fun as couple in our hotel room until suddenly a group of rowdy youth stormed into our room and started beating us ruthlessly,” Ahmed said.

“I thought I was going to die. I thought for sure this was the end. We were stripped naked and hit by glass, stones, metals, whips just to mention a few. These guys were animals. I could hear them say God hates gay people, we should die, our private parts should be chopped off, we should be thrown into the river and let the crocodiles deal with us, we deserve to rot in hell. I was crying and begging them to stop, but my cries fell into deaf ears,” Noor says

The two were rescued by police officers who were guarding the hotel. The officers fired in the air to disperse the angry mob and arrested the couple and took them to police custody in Garissa and later released them.  What is more heartbreaking is that none of the attackers was arrested and charged in court.

Describing his injuries, Noor said, “my left eye is full of blood and I should find out in the next few days if I am going to get my vision back in my left eye.”

“No one should ever experience being discriminated against no matter what their life choices are,” Ahmed says. We are all human beings and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect just as it is clearly stated in our constitution. It doesn’t matter whether someone has an arm growing out of their head, if their skin is completely blue or if they have an extra eye, THEY ARE STILL HUMAN BEINGS AND THEREFORE DESERVE THE SAME HUMAN RIGHTS. So how is their sexuality any different? If you become gay tomorrow, does that mean that suddenly you change into a completely different human being as well? No. Someone’s sexual preference doesn’t affect who they are and therefore should not affect how they are treated.”

“Despite all that we have been through, we are still happily gay and nothing can change that. Love is always a hard thing to find. But when it is found and it is felt, it is something that a person wants to hold onto forever. Love is love to anyone who finds it. Whether it is two women or two men who are in love, or whether it is one man and one woman, they all feel it the same exact way. Homosexual love is natural and essential for homosexuals; just as heterosexual love is natural and essential for heterosexuals.

We are soon relocating to Nairobi where it’s a bit safe. Our wish is to live in a world where one can love freely and not be judged based on his or her sexual preference.” Ahmed concludes.

 

 


Talk PrEP

March 14th, 2017
Talk PrEP

Talk to your partners and friends about PrEP. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention option that works by taking one pill every day. When taken daily it can greatly reduce your risk of getting HIV. You can protect yourself even more if you use condoms and other prevention tools.

People at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily as PrEP to lower their chances of getting infected. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently. And remember, PrEP protects you against HIV but not against other STIs.

Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%. Your risk of getting HIV from sex can be even lower if you combine PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods.