As part of its ongoing feud with the west over the Ukrainian conflict, the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry wants to add condoms to the already long list of foreign medical products that the country is thinking about banning. Other items on the list include X-ray and ultrasound machines, defibrillators, incubators, bandages, medical masks, crutches, prosthetic devices, and orthopedic footwear.
Condoms have nothing to do with health and they “will simply make one more disciplined, more strict and discriminating in choosing partners,” says Gennady Onishchenko, a former government health chief and cabinet adviser.
Although condoms are proven to reduce sexual risk, in this case there is some truth to Onishchenko’s overstated claim that they are unrelated to health. Condoms are too expensive for a lot of Russians, so banning them may not contribute to their already rising rate of HIV infections, according to Vadim Pokrovsky, the government’s top AIDS expert. There is also a shortage of domestically manufactured condoms, which are cheap and notoriously ineffective anyway.
Onishchenko is even hoping that placing a ban on foreign condoms can help solve their demographic problems. Russia’s birth rate has been declining for years, so maybe this will help bring it back up.