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Love life suffers, STDs increase as condom prices skyrocket

By Adedotun Ajayi

With the steep rise in condom prices across Nigeria, healthcare professionals and various stakeholders express apprehension about its potential consequences. This surge might spur reduced usage, pushing individuals towards unprotected intercourse, thereby amplifying the risk of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and a surge in unintended pregnancies.

The emergence of the looming crisis has cast a shadow over relationships and community well-being. Prices of condoms, like other commodities, have experienced a drastic upsurge, the very fabric of intimate connections is at risk, and the consequences may ripple through the country’s health landscape.

Behind the scenes of romantic gestures and affectionate moments, lies a distressing reality: the financial burden of protection. As condom prices soar beyond reach for many, relationships have begun to face unexpected challenges. “Love shouldn’t come with a price tag,” laments James Rotimi, a young entrepreneur in Akure, echoing the sentiments of numerous Nigerians struggling to maintain safe and healthy relationships amidst this crisis.

Also, there is likelihood of an upsurge in Nigeria’s population due to unwanted pregnancies among couples and lovers that use condom as their form of pregnancy prevention measure.

The repercussions, however, extend beyond the realm of love. Health experts express growing concern about the alarming spike in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). With condoms becoming a luxury, unprotected encounters have become more prevalent, leading to a worrisome uptick in STD rates nationwide.

In October, a pack of Durex Extra Safe condoms, previously sold for N1300, now fetches N2400, showing a significant increase in just a few months.

Similarly, Durex Feels have seen a notable surge in prices. Previously available at N300 per pack, they’re now being sold at N700, marking a substantial price hike.

Another significant change can be observed in the pricing of Gold Circle Condom -4 Packs. Formerly priced at N1,100, they’re now being sold for N3,400, reflecting a considerable and concerning increase in cost.

The WHO said in 2020, 374 million new STIs occurred globally among adults aged 15–49 with one of the four curable STIs: syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis.

According to the world global health body, the majority of these could be prevented with the correct use of condoms.

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The organisation noted that condoms, when used correctly and consistently, are safe and highly effective in preventing transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unplanned pregnancies.

 The WHO said in 2020, 374 million new STIs occurred globally among adults aged 15–49 with one of the four curable STIs: syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis.

According to the world global health body, the majority of these could be prevented with the correct use of condoms.

“Condoms continue to be an essential and effective tool in the prevention packages for HIV, other STIs and unplanned pregnancy. Condom use has been a significant tool to decrease transmission of HIV globally.”, the WHO said

Ayodeji Ayanleye, a renowned public health advocate, highlights the urgency of the situation: “Access to affordable protection is essential for safeguarding not just relationships, but the health of our communities. Without it, we face a surge in preventable diseases, putting lives at risk.”

“Amidst these challenges, there’s a glimmer of hope. Activists, health organizations, and concerned citizens are rallying for change. Calls for government intervention, subsidies, and community-driven initiatives are gaining momentum, aiming to make condoms accessible to all.

While the current situation raises concerns, it also ignites a collective effort towards a solution. The rallying cry for affordable protection reverberates through the nation, echoing the belief that love, health, and well-being should never be compromised by price tags.

As Nigeria navigates these turbulent times, the hope for a future where love flourishes, and health remains unscathed, persists. It’s a journey toward affordable protection, where the resilience of communities and the strength of relationships stand united against adversity”

For Janet, a seasoned professional in the complex world of intimacy, the escalating cost of condoms strikes a disconcerting chord. ‘It’s taking a sudden toll on my livelihood,’ she shares with a tone of concern, her voice echoing the sentiments of many in her profession. ‘Clients now hesitate or negotiate shorter sessions due to added expenses. Some even prefer to forego protection, risking both our health.’

Janet, like numerous others in her line of work, has navigated through challenges, but the soaring condom prices pose a unique threat. ‘It affects my safety and that of my clients,’ she admits, highlighting the delicate balance between financial survival and health risks. ‘It’s a paradox: the tool meant to safeguard us is slipping away due to affordability.’

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As a professional who values safety and health, Janet worries about the ripple effects. ‘Less condom use means a higher chance of diseases spreading. It’s not just about business; it’s about our well-being.’

For Janet and her peers, the hike in condom prices isn’t merely a financial strain; it’s a precarious shift that endangers not just their livelihoods but also their health, leaving them grappling with tough choices in an already demanding profession.”

On the contrary, another sex worker, who gave her name as Joy, said the escalating condom prices paint a different picture. “If they want to play without protection, they’ll have to pay extra,” she asserts with a businesslike demeanor, unmoved by the potential consequences. ‘Money talks in this industry, and if they’re willing to pay the premium for that risk, it’s their call.’

Her approach is unapologetically pragmatic; she prioritizes financial gains over health concerns. ‘My primary focus is my income,’ Joy remarks, her tone resolute. “If they’re ready to pay for unprotected encounters, it’s a business transaction. I make the rules.”

While health advocates raise alarms about the dangers of unprotected intercourse, Joy’s stance remains unmoved. “Some clients are willing to pay more for what they want. That’s just how it is,” she shrugs, emphasizing her unyielding approach to her trade.

In Joy’s world, the hike in condom prices is not a threat but rather an opportunity for a premium service, where money talks louder than the risks of unprotected intimacy. For her, it’s a calculated business strategy, detached from the health implications that others might perceive as concerning.”

Speaking under the veil of anonymity, a married man shares a candid reflection on the repercussions of rising condom prices in his personal life. ‘It’s a wake-up call,’ he confesses, acknowledging the impact of this unexpected financial burden on his extramarital affairs. ‘The increased cost has made me reconsider my actions. The fear of potential consequences, especially the risk of bringing STDs home, is daunting.’

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For him, the surge in condom prices has prompted a reevaluation of his choices. ‘I can’t afford to jeopardize my family’s health for momentary pleasure,’ he admits, revealing a newfound apprehension. ‘The financial strain makes me rethink engaging in risky behavior outside my marriage.’

The prospect of ensuring his family’s well-being takes precedence over fleeting encounters. ‘The fear of the unknown is a powerful deterrent,’ he explains, acknowledging how this unforeseen circumstance has altered his perspective on infidelity. ‘I’d rather safeguard my family’s health than indulge in behavior that could put them at risk.’

In the face of inflated condom prices, this anonymous husband finds himself at a crossroads, considering a shift away from infidelity to prioritize the health and stability of his family.”

Also speaking, Pastor Olakunle Olajide, clergyman and a staunch advocate for moral principles, views the surge in condom prices through a different lens. ‘This hike, while concerning to many, shouldn’t be a concern for God’s children,’ he asserts with unwavering conviction. ‘Sex before marriage goes against our beliefs and teachings. Abstinence is the key, regardless of external circumstances.’

For Pastor Olajide, the issue of rising condom prices is an opportunity to reinforce the importance of moral values. ‘Our focus should be on educating our youth about the significance of waiting until marriage,’ he emphasizes, unwavering in his stance on premarital abstinence. ‘Condom prices should not sway us from our commitment to guiding our children away from premarital sex.’

He believes that instilling values of abstinence fosters healthier relationships and communities. ‘Abstinence is not just about avoiding risks of STDs or unplanned pregnancies; it’s about nurturing respect, self-discipline, and commitment in relationships,’ Pastor Olajide explains, underlining the broader significance of his advocacy.

While acknowledging the concern about rising condom costs, Pastor Olajide remains steadfast in his belief that advocating for abstinence among the youth is paramount, prioritizing moral values and spiritual teachings over temporary solutions to a larger societal issue.”

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