You might want to save your condoms for later because Malaysia’s top contraceptive brand Karex has announced that they are expecting to produce 200 million less condoms in the middle of March and April. Karex is one of the world’s top rubber manufacturers and makes one out of every five from the world’s condom stock. The company manufactures for Durex and condoms make up 93 percent of Karex’s revenue.
It’s one of the many companies facing the effects of the market disruption brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and community quarantines enacted for the safety of the public. But safe sex must also be practiced under quarantine—reproductive health is a public health issue after all. The chief executive of Karex, Goh Miah Kiat, is convinced that a global condom shortage is inevitable, saying in an interview with AFP, “It’s challenging, but we are trying our best right now to do whatever we can. It is definitely a major concern—condom is an essential medical device. While we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, there are also other serious issues that we need to look at.”
A spokesperson from the UN Population Fund told AFP that their family planning agency only has about 50-60 percent of its usual condom supplies which is a cause for concern. “A shortage of condoms, or any contraceptive, could lead to an increase in unintended pregnancies, with potentially devastating health and social consequences for adolescent girls, women and their partners and families,” the spokesperson warned. We have previously written about how domestic abuse is part of women’s issues during the pandemic.
Goh shares that they have seen a growing demand for condoms as people worldwide are restricted from spending time outside their homes. If the trend continues, it might be wise to think of more ways to get intimate with your partner. Or as we’ve previously written, look into other contraceptives available in the country such as contraceptive caps, contraceptive patches and fertility awareness. Remember, contraceptives protect you not just from unwanted pregnancies but sexually transmitted diseases as well.