STIs loom as condom price skyrockets in Nigeria


As the price of condoms skyrockets in Nigeria, medical practitioners and other concerned stakeholders fear that it could lead to low demand and force many people into unsafe sex, which could increase sexually transmitted infections including HIV and a boom in unplanned pregnancies. Angela Onwuzoo reports

Stanley Uba was shocked to the marrow when he picked a pack of condoms off the shelf of a supermarket and saw the affixed price.

Curious, at the same time, dumbfounded, he walked up to the cashier with the pack and stammered in a low tone, “How much; is this now the price?”

The young lady, who was eager to attend to other customers clustering around the pay point, blurted impatiently, “That is the price. Please let me attend to other customers if you are not ready,”

Lost in thought, Uba, who had anticipated getting a soothing and rousing romp with his wife after eating his dinner, walked into the dimly lit street.

Prices of condoms, like other commodities, have experienced a drastic upsurge.

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Men patronising commercial sex workers, those with side chicks, couples who have adopted the use of condoms as a family planning method and commercial sex workers have unrelentingly, lamented the astronomical hike in the prices of condoms in Nigeria.

Some of the men, who complained bitterly about the price hike, said though they enjoy having raw sex with their wives, it was risky to go the same route with strangers without using condoms.

According to them, the prices of different brands of condoms needed during sex to stop the transmission of infections and protect against unplanned pregnancies have increased by over 300 per cent.

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“I never knew that things would be so hard in Nigeria today to the point of condoms becoming too expensive to purchase. A pack of Durex Extra Safe condoms that I bought for N1300 in October is now selling for N2400 depending on where you are buying it.

“When I opted for a cheaper one, Durex Feels, the price went up too. Before, a pack was sold at N300 but now, it is sold at N700”, says Mr Mathew Babawale, a father of four, who told our correspondent that he uses a condom during an intimate sexual relationship with his girlfriend.

The 42-year-old truck driver said, if not that they had been sensitized by some non-governmental organisations about the risk of unprotected sex, he would not have bothered about the condom price hike.

Sharing his concern with PUNCH Healthwise, Babawale, said, “Due to the nature of my work, I am always on the road and many times, I travel outside Lagos to deliver goods and might be away from my family for over two weeks. I am a man, and so the urge to have sex will always be there.

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“So, I always have a pack of condoms in my truck, which I use whenever I want to have sex. I usually have raw sex with my wife, and whenever we feel it’s unsafe to avoid unwanted pregnancy, we use the withdrawal method.

“But for my girlfriend and commercial sex workers, I use condoms to avoid having a second wife or contracting an infection. But if condoms become too expensive for the masses to buy, that will not stop us from having sex.

“We will ignore the risk and warning, and have it raw with our girlfriends (partners). The government should stop making things difficult for us.” (Punch)

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