Condoms in Venezuela are now more expensive than an iPhone in the US. Shutterstock/Eillen

As if the situation wasn't already dire enough in Venezuela, where people have to line up for toilet paper, milk, sugar, medicines and feminine hygiene products, if there isn't a shortage; people now have to pay enormous amounts of money for a condom; that is, if they are able to find them. A 31-year-old advertising company art director said the country’s hit “a new low” with this situation and that, “The country is so messed up that now we have to wait in line even to have sex.”

Experts say the country is basically broke and expect a shrink in its economy of 7% in 2015 alone. While this is partly due to low gas prices, it’s putting Venezuela at risk of a health crisis, amidst its already crumbling economy. A pack of 36 Trojan condoms costs 4,760 bolivars (approx. $750) and a pack of three is 399 bolivars (approx. $62).

The impact this will have on the South American country is far greater than the immediate frustration. A lack of condoms will only prevent people from having safe sex, not from having sex. Venezuela has the highest HIV infections rate per capita in South America, per United Nations data. And additionally, abortion is illegal in Venezuela, so this would mean that every young girl and woman who ends up pregnant, would have to abandon school or work, not to mention the economical implications of health care.

General director at the not-for-profit health group StopVIH, Jhonatan Rodriguez spoke to Bloomberg on the phone and stated, “Without condoms we can’t do anything. This shortage threatens all the prevention programs we have been working on across the country.”

The outrageous prices presented themselves on the auction website Mercado Libre, where Venezuelans can bid for numerous items and apparently, it’s they only place the contraceptives can be found at the moment.

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