Russia: Considering ban on imported condoms

Foreign-made condoms, X-ray machines, and other medical equipment may be barred in Russia. The ban, which would prevent the Russian state from purchasing the items from foreign markets, was proposed by the Industry and Trade Ministry as part of an ongoing trade war between the West and Russia. It would not prevent shops from selling foreign-condoms but it would prevent the state from buying and distributing them, as well as raise the price of foreign-condoms. 

The ban raises concerns about Russia's fight to control HIV, as it's one of the few places where infection rates are still increasing rapidly. New infections are most common among injection drug users, though advocates say antigay stigma may prevent men who have sex with men from revealing how they were infected. Dr. Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Russian Federal AIDS Centre, said more needs to be done to prevent infections, including public health campaigns and rolling back restrictions on sex education in schools. 

In response to criticism, former chief sanitary inspector and current government advisor Dr. Gennady Onischenko said condoms "have nothing to do with health." Pokrovsky argued that there is no direct link between imported condom sales and infection rates because the cost of imported condoms are high, saying that if given the choice between buying a condom and buying a beer, the average trade school student would choose the beer.  Read More