by IRMA Steering Committee Member Larry Misedah
Kenya has been seen as one of the progressive countries given a public health approach in dealing with MSM and WSW. The Kenya National AIDS Strategic Plan recognizes these subgroups as the most at risk populations which are part of the target groups for intervention in the HIV/AIDS pandemic. There have been research programs that have been carried out in both Nairobi and Mombasa about MSM. In one of the current research program led by Dr. Vasu and Dr. Theo, one of the recommendations was to have research on the efficacy of the different kinds of lubricant people use locally and their efficacy, a common idea shared with Ishtar MSM during their strategic Planning Process.
Where as it may be seen that the political situation in Kenya is different from the neighbouring East African Countries, the Constitutional Review Committee already pointed out that they will not include lesbian or gay issues in the constitution as this will lead to its rejection in the referendum – a controversial issue even within the National AIDS Intervention Programming. This therefore pauses a major questions about the future of further researches i.e. on rectal microbicides in a heteronormative society where sex is only viewed when done through the vagina and the penis. This notwithstanding the fact that even heterosexual couples have anal sex and that most MSM in Nairobi also have sex with Women because of the cultural reasons that have led them to get married.
There is therefore a need for an analysis and proper strategies to be put in place to ensure the continuity of the already ongoing work that has been taking place and a bold step to take in issues of rectal microbicides in the already ongoing programs. Perhaps an issue that needs to be picked up with the newly formed Panafrican MSM Network AMSHeR.