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Condoms Have Gotten So Damned Expensive in Argentina that People Aren't Using Protection

Tens of thousands may be having unsafe sex because the price of condoms and the pill have spiked in the recession-plagued country.

by Tim Marcin
Sep 19 2019, 3:10pm

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Tens of thousands of Argentinians are apparently having unsafe sex because the price of condoms and the pill have spiked in the recession-plagued country.

With the value of the peso plunging and inflation rising, pharmacists and manufacturers in Argentina say sales of condoms and birth control have tumbled, Reuters reported Thursday.

One pharmacist in the Buenos Aires suburbs said people come in, “ask the price, and then just leave.”

The annual inflation rate in Argentina has hit 54.5% and the peso has lost two-thirds of its value against the dollar since the start of 2018. Overall, the economy of the country is projected to shrink more than 2.5% in 2019. Al Jazeera reported that 35% of Argentina lives in poverty and that more than half of the country’s children live below the poverty line.

READ: Sex workers will finally be able to carry condoms without fear of arrest in California

Amid those financial woes, Reuters reported that condom sales were down 8% compared to last year. Felipe Kopelowicz, president of Kopelco, manufacturer of Tulipán and Gentleman condom brands, told Reuters that the imported materials needed to make condoms have pushed the price up some 36% this year.

Birth control pill sales, meanwhile, were reportedly down 6%.

“It’s around 144,000 women who have stopped taking contraceptives each month,” Isabel Reinoso, president of the Argentina Pharmaceutical Confederation, told Reuters.

There are, of course, huge dangers associated with having unprotected sex, including unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. But it isn’t necessarily an uncommon thing to happen when a country has a flailing economy.

As Venezuela’s economy began to collapse in 2014, condoms flew off the shelves later that year, and by February 2015 it cost $755 for a 36 pack of Trojans. And a 2013 report in Time said that budget issues contributed to teens using condoms less, with schools cutting back on educational resources and clinics closing.

“People don’t stop having sex because of the bad economy,” Oregon health official Patrick Luedtke said at the time. “Where are the resources?”

In Argentina, hospitals do give out free condoms, but few people apparently know that.

Cover: A young man holds a condom behind the back of a young woman in Berlin, 22 January 2018. Photo by: Christophe Gateau/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

The Pill
birth control
sexually transmitted diseases
unwanted pregnancies