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Condoms: How the Recession is Impacting Safe Sex

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Many industries continue to see a decline as the economy slumps. But not the condom business, which is witnessing a steady a rise in sales (no pun intended, we promise). As couples continue to keep the fire alive in the midst of a cold economy, Ansell Healthcare Vice President Carol Carrozza, whose company creates LifeStyles contraceptives, breaks down to ESSENCE.com the latest trends in condoms and why you should bring your own protection to the party.

ESSENCE.COM: Your company like almost all condom lines is having an increase in sales during these rough financial times. Do you know why this is so?
CAROL CARROZZA:
We believe that in scary, uncertain economic times like these, people are more inclined to couple and nest, whereas in a more reliable economic environment they might be more inclined to remain independent. Unfortunately, it may also be possible that people are practicing more risky behaviors, and condoms serve as a health device to protect from STDs.

ESSENCE.COM: Safety is definitely a big issue for our community. Do you have any tips for women on purchasing condoms, and who’s buying more condoms – men or women?
CARROZZA:
Overall, about 70% of all condoms are bought by men, while 30% are purchased by women. We also know that higher pack counts are bought more by women than by men. Women should always be prepared and carry their own condoms, just in case their partner does not have condoms at the right moment when one is needed. Today's condom packaging is discreet and 'gender neutral.' It makes purchasing them easy and removes all potential embarrassment.

ESSENCE.COM:  Definitely. So what do you see for the future of condoms?
CARROZZA:
Condoms not only provide protection, but there is a movement to have condoms provide additional enhancement benefits. Some condoms have special shapes which add sensitivity, or they carry active ingredients which serve to stimulate and enhance a sexual experience while still providing excellent protection from STDs and pregnancy.

ESSENCE.COM: Interesting indeed. And do you expect to see a drop in condom sales once the economy picks back up?
CARROZZA:
No, condom sales are mostly recession-proof. They're a necessity today, for protection from HIV/AIDS and STDs as well as from pregnancy. They're affordable when compared to other forms of contraception and have no side effects, so they are a natural choice of protection for many.

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