In South America's capital of romance, Argentine lovers are cutting back on one important item: contraception.
Amid a biting recession, a sharp currency devaluation and soaring inflation, sales of condoms and birth control pills in Argentina have tumbled.
Emiliano di Ilio is a pharmacist in Buenos Aires.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CHEMIST, EMILIANO DI ILIO, SAYING:"People come in, they ask about prices and they can't pay, they can't (afford it) or don't want to (buy it).
We're all taking into account the current economic situation.
And especially in the area of contraception, prophylactics it (sales) has dropped.
Prophylactics have dropped 20% from August to September and for contraception, general brands (have dropped) 25%." Industry sources estimated condom sales are down 8% nationwide since the start of the year compared to 2018, and have fallen by 25% over recent months as the economic crisis has worsened.
Sales of birth control pill sales are also down - 6% for the year and by one-fifth more recently, pharmacists said.
Most condoms, or the materials needed to make them, are imported, so a weaker currency has had a sharp impact on price – which has spiked some 36% since the start of the year, said Felipe Kopelowicz, president of condom manufacturer Kopelco.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENT OF KOPELCO, FELIPE KOPELOWICH, SAYING: “This year we're seeing a record drop of 7%, 8% in volume and it's obviously because of the two issues we discussed, the economic situation and the lack of use of condoms amongst youth because there are only a few prevention campaigns." Public health experts said the issue could aggravate levels of sexually transmitted disease.
The government does distribute free condoms in public hospitals, but few know about it, according to the head of an Argentine non-profit fighting HIV.
Argentina's Ministry of Health did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters.