Monday, 5 November 2012


A man transporting fish from  the lake

The government is on the verge of carrying out 2012 AIDS indicator Survey in the country to establish the prevalence rate. Health officials and other stakeholders will be keen on the latest prevalence rates to evaluate the effectiveness of the various AIDS programs aimed at reducing infections. Last year, the HIV/AIDS prevalence in Kenya reduced to 6% up from 12% according to National AIDS Control Council. This is a remarkable effort put forth by the Ministry of Health in its spirited campaigns against the dreaded virus. Although a reduction has been recorded, Nyanza province still has the highest prevalence in the country. The situation is dire especially along the shores of Lake Victoria.
Fish for sex
Fishermen and Fishmongers alike are seen to be thwarting the vicious war against the HIV/AIDS epidemic because of their unorthodox behavior. The fishermen/fishmongers have established some sort of ritual that has fuelled the spread of the virus. The fishmongers consist of women in most cases. The unwritten rule that applies here is that, the woman will buy fish from the fisherman and when darkness covers the land, she must sleep with this particular fisherman. As oblivious as it may sound, the intercourse must be unprotected claiming that condoms reduce pleasure. The fisherman also has similar arrangements with other women who are also his customers. Similarly, the woman would have the same arrangements with other fishermen to source for more fish. The rule bends for no one so if you can’t fit in you can as well ship out. This means that you will be locked out of the business hence loss of source of livelihood. Some of the fishermen and fishmongers are married and consequently their partners are at great risk of being infected. It therefore creates a network which eventually ends up reaching out the entire population. Recently an NGO came up and bought 6 fishing boats for a group woman in a bid to stop the dependency of women on men for fish. It plans to continue with this initiative in an attempt to completely stamp out this awful practice along the long the lake. Another obsolete custom that is responsible for the high prevalence is the practice of wife inheritance. This retrogressive practice has also led to the spread of the virus. The practice is still widespread despite the campaigns. 
Drop outs
The fish business is a booming venture associated with high profits however the families of the fishermen continue to languish in poverty. It has also had far reaching effects on education of the children along the lake. Children especially young boys are dropping out of school to pursue the lucrative business. NASCOP and other Non-Governmental Organizations have focused their campaigns along the beaches in a bid to facilitate behavior change. Little has been achieved up to this point in time. Those that take part in this trade are oblivious of the lurking dangers.
Educational Campaigns
The above two practices are the main sponsors of spread of HIV/AIDS along the shores of Lake Victoria. Of course there is the problem of multiple sexual partners which is a predicament world over. This combined with the two practices conspire to infect people in this region. The residents should be subjected to educational campaigns more frequently although they are responding slowly to the message probably because of high illiteracy levels. They should also take advantage of the loan facilities provided by the government through the Women Development Enterprise Fund and Youth Development Fund to start their own businesses where they cannot be held hostage and thus cease being dependent on fishing. This will also help in conservation of fish stocks in the lake which is dwindling at a very high rate.