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Higher Condom Prices Lead To Health Concerns In Ukraine

KYIV -- The average price for condoms has greatly increased in Ukraine in the past year, leading some to worry that the higher cost has led to lesser use and the spreading of venereal diseases, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Last summer, a packet of three condoms cost six hryvni in Ukraine -- slightly more than $1 at last year's exchange rate.

A month ago, the cost for the same product was 26 hryvni and now it is as high as 35 hryvni, largely due to an increase in the cost of latex.

The rising prices seem to have led to many choosing to go without protection during sex.

Oleksander Sharuda, a Kharkiv doctor who specializes in sexually transmitted diseases, told RFE/RL that he has already seen a much higher rate of gonorrhea among his patients.

Sharuda expects syphilis, which has a longer incubation period, to also increase in the coming months.

An informal vox pop conducted by RFE/RL in Kharkiv among students showed a high awareness of sexual safety, though they said that if condom prices continue to increase they may have to do without.