While we debated the existence of pumpkin spice condoms, Venezuela had (and still has) much bigger contraception concerns to worry about.
Safe sex comes at a very steep price in Venezuela, Bloomberg Business reported Wednesday (February 4th). A 36-pack of Trojans costs an outrageous 4,760 bolivars -- around $755, which falls just under the nation's minimum monthly wage -- on a Venezuelan auction website. For context, the same item here costs $15 to $20 on Amazon.
Venezuela is already battling high HIV infection and teen pregnancy rates, so rising condom prices just make everything a gazillion times worse. The situation is complicated, but here's why it matters to you and your beloved car.
Gas is getting cheaper...
The U.S. is producing more and more oil domestically now, so gas prices are rapidly falling. Cars are also becoming more energy-efficient and require less gas. This is great news for us, obviously, but it spells out disaster for countries like Venezuela that sell oil.
...but Venezuela's economy relies on oil exports.
Oil makes up 95% of Venezuela's foreign currency. In other words, the country almost entirely relies on the money it earns by selling oil to other nations. But since the demand for oil has gone down thanks to energy-efficient cars and an increase in domestic production, Venezuela is making fewer sales and lowering their prices.
As a result, the country took in 60% less moolah from oil exports in January 2015 than it did midway through 2014. That means the Venezuelan government now has way less money to spend on the stuff their citizens need.
The country can't afford to import basic necessities.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro handled the economic downturn by cutting imports, which is problematic because Venezuela gets most of its supplies by importing them from other countries.
Now the nation is facing a severe shortage of basic products. We're talking about things like deodorant, toilet paper, medications, flour, stuff you use in your everyday life. Residents line up outside pharmacies and drugstores to buy these necessities before they sell out. Here's a pic of people waiting outside a supermarket in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela:
Many drugstores stopped selling condoms.
The photo below shows what the inside of the same supermarket looks like. The shelves are woefully bare. Some items, namely condoms, are so rare to come by that many stores aren't selling them at all anymore. Birth control pills and emergency contraception are also in short supply, so Venezuelans are turning to auction sites or black markets to purchase these items if at all.
It's a huge problem with no easy solution.
Venezuela has the second highest rate of teen pregnancy as of 2012 and third fastest rate of HIV infections in South America. On top of that, abortion is illegal in the country, which means unwanted pregnancies are sometimes terminated with illicit and often dangerous methods.
"Without condoms we can’t do anything," Jhonatan Rodriguez, general director of the HIV prevention NGO StopVIH, told Bloomberg. "This shortage threatens all the prevention programs we have been working on across the country."
For information about birth control and sexual health, visit MTV's It's Your Sex Life.