Published: Fresh U. July 24, 2016. This story was one of six featured articles of the week. Viewable here.
The much-anticipated 2016 Rio Olympics have already broken a record. Organizers are planning to give out almost a half million condoms to athletes – or, 42 condoms for each player – as well as 175,000 lubricant packets.
The event, which lasts for 17 days, will take place from August 5 through the 21.
“This is considered sufficient to encourage athletes to practice safe sex while in Brazil for the Olympic Games,” Olympic officials told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.
Although the number of condoms per athlete seems excessive – each player would have to use two to three per day to take full advantage of all 42 – organizers are taking measures to prevent furthering the Zika virus outbreak, which has now spread to Rio de Janeiro.
An eerie article published by the Harvard Health Review lists out potential threats by the Zika virus at the Olympics, including the possibility of a global outbreak manifesting as the result of hundreds of thousands of tourists contracting the disease in Brazil and bringing it back with them to their countries.
Because the Zika virus can be sexually transmitted, no effort is too great to protect competing athletes against the virus, which has been found to cause a condition in which the immune system attacks the nervous system – possibly resulting in paralysis and muscle strength deterioration – and has been known to cause severe birth defects.
Although Zika concerns are increasing condom availability for competing athletes, condoms have long been an essential cornerstone in the Olympics festivities. Beginning in Seoul in 1988 with approximately 8,500 provided condoms, condom numbers have steadily increased over the years at the games – 90,000 in 1992 at Barcelona, 130,000 at Athens in 2004 and 150,000 at London in 2012. The new Rio record beats the previous condom count by 300,000.
Better safe than sorry.