Spain considers providing free condoms to young people amid rise in sexually transmitted infections

Spain is considering free condoms for young people.
Spain is considering free condoms for young people. Copyright Canva
By Roberto Ferrer
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The initiative comes amid a significant rise in sexually transmitted infections in Europe.

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Spain is considering providing free condoms to young people in an effort to tackle high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The possible measure was announced by health minister Mónica García on Thursday before the Senate Health Committee.

"It makes no sense to cover a vaccine to prevent an infection but not a barrier method such as a condom," the minister said.

She explained the ministry was considering having condoms covered by the public health system and free of charge for "young people with less purchasing power, which have a significant increase in sexually transmitted infections".

Details of the plan have not yet been officially published by the government.

Spain's health ministry told Euronews that the measure is still under consideration.

However, Spanish news agency EFE has reported that the free condoms would be for young people aged 14 to 22, regardless of their income.

They would be available in pharmacies using people’s health cards, the agency reported citing ministry sources.

Spanish regions have the authority to handle issues related to health so the ministry would have to coordinate with local governments.

STIs rising in Europe

García pointed to a worrying increase in sexually transmitted infections as the reason behind the potential measure.

According to a recent report published by the ministry, gonorrhoea and syphilis infections have been on the rise since the early 2000s.

In the case of chlamydia, the number of infections per 100,000 people more than tripled between 2016 and 2022.

Spain is not an isolated case.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in 2022, gonorrhoea cases rose by 48 per cent, syphilis cases by 34 per cent, and chlamydia cases by 16 per cent compared to the previous year.

In France, condoms have been free and reimbursed by national health insurance for young people under the age of 26 since January 2023.

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