Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

April-25-14

Cuba Faces Condom Shortage

A current condom shortage in Cuba is stirring fears of higher STD rates and unplanned pregnancies.

Pharmacies in Cuba's central province of Villa Clara began running out of condoms in March, and the suburbs of Havana are now affected as well. The city of Santa Clara, which has one of the highest HIV rates in Cuba, has been hit the hardest.

"In the great majority of pharmacies in the municipality of Playa, there's a shortage," wrote Polina Martinez Shvietsova in the initial report on the shortage in the Havana area. "In the municipality of Plaza, in the pharmacy at 23rd and 24th Streets, the salespeople said, 'We have none, and we don't know when they will arrive.'"

The state-run wholesaler Ensume, which obtains and supplies government-subsidized condoms in Cuba, says it has a million condoms in its warehouses. But under a state regulatory ruling regarding an imported shipment of condoms with incorrect expiration dates, Ensume must relabel all of them. As a result of the slow repackaging process, Ensume can only provide around 1,500 condoms per day - far below the need for all the country. (In only the province of Villa Clara, there is a need for 5,000 condoms daily.)

The repackaging raises questions about the safety of the condoms once they go on sale. With the new expiration dates, it will be unclear how old the condoms actually are, and latex degrades over time - potentially putting users at risk of using expired condoms which could tear or break. In addition, the price of one condom has now risen from just a few cents to $1.30 - a typical Cuban worker's daily wages.

The government-run sex education center, Cenesex, has ordered that any available supplies be given to people who are known to be HIV-positive and allocated to the areas with high HIV rates. Cuba currently has a strong HIV-prevention program, with only around 0.1 percent of the population testing HIV-positive. Cuba's HIV/AIDS prevention program relies heavily on educational programs, of which safe sex is a central topic - potentially putting its success at risk with a lowering supply of condoms.

Kenya also faced a severe condom stockout last November. Condom shortages may be the result of inadequate funding or health programs that are fully or partially restricted by an abstinence-only focus - such as the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). When countries find themselves short-stocked on contraceptives, women suffer. An estimated 222 million women around the world wish to either delay or prevent pregnancy but lack access to contraceptives, putting them at risk for injury, illness or death due to pregnancy, childbirth, or unsafe abortions. Further, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age.

Media Resources: Miami Herald 4/16/14; The Guardian 4/18/14; RH Reality Check 4/21/14; UNICEF; Feminist Newswire 2/14/05, 10/25/13, 11/6/13; Feminist Campus Global Reproductive Rights Campaign


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

9/22/2014 Under the Affordable Care Act, More Women Then Ever Have Free Access to Contraception - Two-thirds of American woman now have access to free birth control, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Guttmacher Institute released a study Thursday showing steep increases in the number of women who were able to take full advantage of the ACA birth control benefit. . . .
 
9/22/2014 Climate Change Activists Take Over Manhattan to Demand Action - An estimated 400,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan over the weekend to demand world leaders take action on climate change. The People's Climate March, which some are calling the single largest call for climate action ever, took place ahead of Tuesday's emergency UN Climate Summit. Joining the march were several labor unions, former Vice President Al Gore, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and celebrities Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton. . . .
 
9/22/2014 New President and National Unity Government Announced in Afghanistan - The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced yesterday that the Afghan people have elected Dr. . . .