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Argentina

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OVERVIEW

In Argentina, you will find many health care resources, especially in Buenos Aires.Throughout the country, contraception (birth control) is fully legal, and you can find birth control pills, IUDs, shots and patches. You can also obtain emergency contraception ("the morning after pill") at pharmacies, public hospitals or health centers. You can purchase pads and tampons in grocery stores, and there is one known seller of menstrual cups in the country. There is no PrEP access but there are many STI testing sites, and there is a national HPV vaccination program in place. Finally, abortion is generally illegal and is only permitted in very specific circumstances, some of which have grey-area legal status. For this reason, there is a large underground economy of clandestine abortions. Some of these are performed in unsafe conditions, so caution should be exercised. General public opinion toward abortion has liberalized in the last decade, yet the country still remains a difficult place for women with unwanted pregnancies.

Contraception (Birth Control)[edit]

General Note: There are many types of contraceptives, also known as "birth control," including IUDs, oral contraceptives, patches, shots, and condoms, etc. If you would like to view a full list, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Argentina, contraception is legal and widely available. You can purchase birth control pills without a prescription.[1] [2] According to a 2015 study, 61.6% of Argentine women (who are married/in unions and of reproductive age) use any form of contraception, including traditional methods, and 15.3% have unmet family planning needs. The most common forms of contraception birth control pills (27.7%), condoms (17%), IUDs (6.9%) and female sterilization (3.5%). There are especially low rates of usage for contraceptive injectables (2.6%) and traditional methods, such as rhythm (1.1%) and withdrawal (0.5%). Meanwhile, it was found that practically no women were using contraceptive implants (0.0%) or vaginal barrier methods (0.0%).[3]

However, some Argentine women face barriers when they try to access contraception. From a historical perspective, the Argentine government formerly opposed the sale or use of contraceptives and, during the military dictatorship (1976-83), even condoms were illegal. In 2003, the government began to freely distribute contraceptives, such as IUDS, for free, but this did not automatically translate into free choice for all. In fact, in 2005, a Human Rights Watch report detailed "how judges, doctors and health workers prevent women from making independent reproductive decisions in violation of women's internationally recognized human rights." The report also analyzed how the impact of spousal pressure and domestic violence limited women's abilities to choose contraception, and discrimination in many hospitals, such as requiring spousal approval for sterilization procedures, further limited women's autonomy.[4]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Yasmin pills purchased in Argentina
Yasmin pills purchased in Argentina

Consultations & Recommended Physicians[edit]

  • If you don't know which contraceptive method is right for you, you can call the Sexual Health Hotline (Línea de salud sexual): 0800 222 3444. It's free to call them through landlines or public phones throughout Argentina. You can also email the Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health in Buenos Aires (saludreproductiva@buenosaires.gob.ar); they tend to be get back to people within 24 hours. Both services can accommodate Spanish speakers and English speakers.
  • Recommendation: "Dr. Claudia María Battista is a gynecologist based in Recoleta (3rd floor, Arenales 1611, 4811 6127) who can administer both hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs, after a medical consultation. The best option for each patient and the price of the IUD must be discussed with the doctor, and Dr. Battista speaks English, if your Spanish is not up to par to discuss your reproductive system."[5]

Contraceptive Options[edit]

  • You can buy condoms ("preservativos" in Spanish) at pharmacies and supermarkets for $10-30 ARS, but generally around 15 ARS, for a three-pack, or up to $67 ARS for a 12-pack.
  • If you would like to get birth control pills ("pastillas anticonceptivas" in Spanish), they can be purchased in pharmacies without a prescription for about 3$0-120 ARS. Farmacity is a popular pharmacy chain. Some brands you can expect to see are Ovrette, Marvelon, Microlut, Microval, Diane-35, Duoluton, Eugynon, Neogynon, Nordiol, Ovral, Microgynon, Microvlar, Nordette, Miranova and others. To see which pills are available in Argentina, check out IPFF Argentina, Alfabeta, Kairos. Please note that Argentina has strict importation laws, so be careful to NOT bring in any birth control pills that aren't permitted in Argentina.
  • If you're interested in the contraceptive ring (like Nuvaring), you can get it at Farmacity for $240 ARS.
  • If you want an IUD, you can get the IUD insertion at a hospital or health center. While you can get it done at a public hospital, you'll find that only non-hormonal IUDs are available. They last for 10 years. If you want the hormonal IUDs, which last for 5 years, you'll need to go to a private hospital. For Mirena, it's about $1700 ARS. The copper IUD (not industria argentina) costs around $500-700 ARS.
  • If you want a contraceptive control shot/injectable ("inyección" in Spanish), it can be purchased at public and private health care facilities. If you have a prescription, you can also get it directly from the pharmacy.[6] You may be able to find brands like Cyclofem, Cyclofemina, Dahlia, Depo-Provera, Mesigyna and Perlutal in Argentina. You can probably get the injections for free at public hospitals and health centers, like Hospital General de Agudos A. Zubizarreta or Hospital General de Agudos B. Rivadavia. If you would like to get it at Farmacity, you can get it for around $30 ARS or 40 ARS. Since some pharmacies in Buenos Aires don't carry the shot, you should confirm a stable place to get an injection before you commit to shots.
  • If you want the contraceptive implant ("implante" or "anticonceptivo subcutáneo" in Spanish), this has been available in Argentina since 2012. However, they are not commonly used, so you may need to go to a specialized provider to obtain the insertion procedure.
  • If you're interested in the contraceptive patch ("parche" in Spanish), you can get it a pharmacies, like Farmacity. It's not covered by the public health system, so expect to pay around $150-$200. In 2016, Farmacity quoted the price as $168 ARS.[7]

Additional Information[edit]

Costs[edit]

Due to government subsidies, birth control pills should be free in Argentina for Argentine nationals.[8] [9] If you're a foreigner, we're not sure what costs you will need to pay at pharmacies (if you do know, please update this page with the info).

Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)[edit]

Important Notes: Emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy for three days (72 hours) and sometimes five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex. If you don't have access to dedicated EC, oral contraceptives can be used as replacement EC, but remember the following: 1) Only some contraceptives work as EC 2) Different contraceptives require different dosages and time schedules to work as EC 3) You must only use the first 21 pills in 28-day packs and 4) They may be less effective than dedicated EC. For general information on emergency contraceptives, click here and here. Copper IUDs may also prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after unprotected sex.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

Emergency contraception is legal and can be accessed without a prescription.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

In Buenos Aires, you can obtain emergency contraception (also known as "the morning after pill"). In Spanish, it's called "anticoncepción hormonal de emergencia." You can get EC at public hospitals or health centers for free (for 24 hours/day) after a medical consultation. You can also visit a pharmacy, like Farmacity (many of them are open 24 hours), and purchase EC. There are no age restrictions.

  • Some of the dedicated emergency contraception brands you can expect to find in pharmacies are Norgestrel Max Unidosis, Postinor 1 and Segurite UD (for all of these, take 1 pill within 120 hours after unprotected sex). You can also find Norgestrel-Max, Ovulol and Postinor-2 (for all of these, take 2 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex).[10]
  • If you can't access dedicated emergency contraception, you can use oral contraceptive (regular birth control pills) as emergency contraception. For progestin-only pills, you can take Ovrette (take 40 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex). You can also take Microlut or Micronova (take 50 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex). For combined progestin-estrogen pills, remember that, in 28-day packs, only the first 21 pills can be used. Of these, you can take Duoluton, Eugynon, Neogynon, Nordiol or Ovral (take 2 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 2 more pills 12 hours later). You can take Microgynon, Microvlar or Nordette (take 4 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 4 more pills 12 hours later). You can also take Miranova (take 5 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 5 more pills 12 hours later).[11]

Costs[edit]

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs/STDs)[edit]

Anyone can be affected by STIs. It's possible to have one without having symptoms and so if you've had unprotected sex it's important you have a screen.

For up to date information about how and where to test for STIs, HIV and safe sex see How To Stay STI and Baby-Free in Buenos Aires (The Bubble) - [1]

Rates of HIV in Argentina are increasing - whilst some groups are affected more than others (men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers and intravenous drug users), anyone can get it and it's vital you are tested if you're having unprotected sex.

Important Notes - Learn about PEP and PrEP: If you think that you've been recently exposed to HIV (i.e. within 72 hours), seek out PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a month-long treatment to prevent HIV infection after exposure, and it may be available in your city. Take PEP as soon as possible. For more information, click here. If you are at risk of HIV exposure, seek out PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a daily oral pill that can prevent HIV infection before exposure. To learn more about PrEP, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

You can enter the country if you're HIV+. There are no travel restrictions applied to anyone with STIs. However, according to the National AIDS Law No 23.798, all immigrants are required to take HIV tests.[12]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Testing Facilities[edit]

  • You can get tested at tons of public hospitals in Argetina. The wait times will be longer but costs will be very low, and potentially free. For the full list, click here. Also, here are some well-known public hospitals:
  • Hospital Ramos Mejía: Adresse: Gral. Urquiza 609, C1221ADC Buenos Aires, Argentine, Tél: +54 11 4931-1884
  • Hospital Argerich: Adresse: Av. Almte Brown 202, Cdad. Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentine
  • Hospital Fernández: Adresse: Cerviño 3356, C1425AGP CABA, Argentine. Tél: +54 11 4808-2600.
  • Hospital Vélez Sarsfield: Adresse: Pedro Calderón de la Barca 1550, C1407KQF CABA, Argentine. Tél: +54 11 4639-8700.
  • If you would like to get tested at a private facility, the costs will be higher. But the wait times will be faster and facilities will generally be nicer:
  • Hospital Aleman: Ouvert 24 heures. Les tests coûtaient environ 130 pesos en 2011. Adresse: Av Pueyrredón 1640, C1118AAT CABA, Argentine, Tél: +54 11 4827-7000.
  • Swiss Medical: Il y a des établissements dans toute la ville, donc allez voir sur leur site internet.
  • Clinica La Sagrada Familia: Petite clinique. Etablit des bilans de santé pour environ 120 pesos. Adresse: José Hernández 1642, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentine - Tél: (5411) 6343-7800
  • Ceusa Leah: Adresse: Pueyrredón 768 1º Piso CP 1032 - Capital Federal Tél / Fax: 4961-8348 / 4962-3505 email: info@ceusa-laeh.com.ar
  • Nexo Asociación Civil: Réalise des tests VIH rapides. Adresse: Avda. Callao 339 6 A y B, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentine -0800 345 6396, info@nexo.org, du lundi au vendredi, 15:30-21:00
  • Hospital Fernandez: Adresse: Cerviño 3356, C1425AGP CABA, Argentine, Tél: +54 11 4808-2600.
  • Hospital Británico de Buenos Aires: Adresse: Perdriel 74, C1280AEB Buenos Aires, Argentine. Tél: +54 11 4309-6400

Support[edit]

  • Fundación Huesped: Focuses on sexual and reproductive rights and helping people with HIV. Operating since 1989.
  • Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer: Focuses on helping women and health programs; organizes conferences.
  • FUNDAMIND: Offers job assistance, education, etc. Helps kids with HIV.
  • UNAIDS Argentina: "The goal of UNAIDS is to lead and inspire the world in Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-deaths." Alberto Stella, UNAIDS Country Director, Telephone: + 54 11 4328 4365. Fax: + 54 11 4328 2253, Email: STELLAA@UNAIDS.ORG.

Costs[edit]

Medications & Vaccines[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • If you have a yeast infection ("infección por levaduras" in Spanish), you can ask the pharmacist for Fluconazole, which is antifungal medication. They'll be able to give you Fluconazole or something similar.
  • If you have a urinary tract infection ("Infecciones de las vías urinarias" in Spanish), you can contact a doctor/pharmacist to find out next steps.
  • There has been a national HPV vaccination program in Argentina since 2011. The target age for vaccination is 11 years old, and it was estimated that 50% of the target population was vaccinated in 2013.[13]
  • There is currently no official PrEP program in Argentina.

Costs[edit]

Menstruation[edit]

Note: In addition to pads and tampons, you can also use menstrual cups and menstrual underwear for your period. To learn more about menstrual cups, click here. To learn more about menstrual underwear, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

In Buenos Aires, you can find pads, tampons and pantyliners. Pads are the easiest to find in supermarkets, pharmacies and corner stores. You can purchase tampons in Argentina; they'll typically be non-applicator brands, like OB. If you want a menstrual cup, you can buy a MoonCup at COPA ECOLÓGICA (Tomás Le Bretón 4933 Villa Urquiza Buenos Aires, Capital Federal 1431 Argentina (011) - 11564171648). For DivaCup, LadyCup or Lunette, you'll need to buy them online since there are no local sellers in Argentina.

Costs[edit]

Gynecological Exams[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • For recommended gynecologists in Buenos Aires, visit the Buenos Aires page

Costs[edit]

Pregnancy[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • For recommended obstetricians and gynecologists in Buenos Aires, visit the Buenos Aires page

Costs[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Important Note: There are two main types of abortions: medical (also known as the "abortion pill") and surgical (also known as "in-clinic"). For medical abortions, you take a pill to induce abortion. For surgical abortions, a procedure is performed to induce abortion. For general information about medical and surgical abortions, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Argentina, abortion is generally not permitted. It is only completely legal in certain circumstances, which include: to save the life of the woman, to protect physical health, and in cases of rape. It should be noted that the Ministry of Health has not formally ratified protocols that permit abortions in cases of rape, so the legality is debatable, yet it appears to be fully decriminalized.[14] For all other reasons, including risk of fetal impairment, economic or social reasons, or availability upon request, are prohibited. According to the Pact of San Jose (1994), the right to life begins "in general, from the moment of conception."[15] While some Argentine politicians have expressed interest in changing the abortion laws in the past, the Catholic Church has played a strong role in Argentine society, and no politicians have successfully gone forth with these plans.

The penalty for an illegal abortion is up to four years in prison for the person who performed the abortion. However, in order to penalize the physician, the police must actually find a person performing an illegal abortion. This makes the prosecution rather difficult. There are reports of police wire-tapping the phones of at least one abortion clinic in order to prosecute the physicians.[16]

For many years, Argentine abortion laws only permitted abortion in cases when the woman's life was endangered. In March 2012, the provisions were expanded after a landmark case, in which the Supreme Court allowed a 15-year old who was raped by stepfather to obtain an abortion. As a result, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion in cases of rape should not be criminalized, and they ruled that a sworn affidavit confirming the rape would be enough to allow the abortion.[17] There has not been a formal discussion of revision of abortion laws in Argentine political life. However, it appears that public opinion is gradually changing. In 2003, a poll found that 30% of Argentines thought abortion should be permitted "regardless of situation," 47% thought it should be permitted "under certain circumstances" and 23% thought that abortion should never be permitted. Later, in September 2011, the same poll showed that 45% of Argentines thought abortion should be permitted for any reason.[18]

It is estimated that half a million abortions happen in Argentina each year, which would be 40% of all pregnancies.[19] Unfortunately, many of these clandestine abortions are performed in unsafe conditions or by unqualified personnel. The number one cause for maternal mortality rates in Argentina is unsafe abortions, which is estimated to be about to 31% of maternal deaths.

As stated in a 2005 Human Rights Watch Report on abortion in Argentina, "The criminalization of abortion leads women to take desperate measures, such as attempting to abort with knitting needles, rubber tubes, parsley sprigs, or the use of abortive medicines without adequate medical assistance. It also enables clandestine abortion “clinics” to operate with little regard for women’s health and lives. When women hemorrhaging or suffering from life-threatening infections or injuries caused by botched abortions show up at public hospitals, health care personnel sometimes scorn them and deny them treatment. Doctors performing post-abortion curettage—the highly painful scraping of a woman’s uterus with a sharp instrument—sometimes do so without anesthesia. Women who fear criminal proceedings are discouraged from seeking necessary post-abortion care, often to the serious detriment of their health. Some women who have had abortions are sentenced to prison, in a further assault on their human rights."[20]

There have also been reported difficulties for women seeking abortions, due to the fears expressed by physicians. As reported in Argentina Independent, "For poor women, public hospitals are often the only available option. Yet frequently, fear of legal repercussions, or a personal moral stance, leads health professionals in public hospitals to demand judicial authorisation before agreeing to terminate the pregnancy, despite the fact that it is not required by law. For their part, some judges likewise refuse to authorise the practice, arguing that they only have a role once the abortion has already been performed."[21]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • If you are pregnant and wish to obtain an abortion, your best option is to seek an abortion outside Argentina. While there is an underground illegal abortion industry in Argentina, it's not safe and not recommended. Rather, you may consider traveling to places like Uruguay, Mexico City or the United States, where you can legally obtain an abortion. However, you should note that, to get an abortion in Uruguay, you need to be an Uruguayan citizen or you need to have continuously lived in Uruguay for at least one year.[22]
  • You can potentially purchase the "abortion pill" through Women on Waves. Check out their website for details. If you can't access the website, it may be blocked in your country.
  • In Argentina, there is an abortion hotline for women who have unwanted pregnancies: Tel: (011) 156 664 7070
  • There is a Sexual Health Helpline that you can consult for information: Tel: 0800-222-3444 (toll-free)

Costs[edit]

There were reports of relatively "safe" abortions being performed for around 1500 pesos in 2007 -- and, while the prices have surely gone up since 2007, it's hard to verify the current prices.[23] However, some abortion providers supposedly charge 20,000-40,000 pesos as of 2015.

Advocacy & Counseling[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Costs[edit]

List of Additional Resources[edit]

  • Asociacion Civil La Casa Del Encuentro: Focuses on women’s social networks. Lobbies for policies to combat all forms of violence, abuse and discrimination against women and children. Address: 1204 De, Rivadavia 3917, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Phone: +54 11 4982-2550

References[edit]

  1. Global Oral Contraception Availability
  2. Free the Pill - Where on Earth? Map
  3. Trends in Contraceptive Use Worldwide 2015
  4. Argentina: Limits on Birth Control Threaten Human Rights
  5. The Bubble’s Guide to Not Getting Pregnant in Buenos Aires
  6. How To Avoid Pregnancy Scares In Buenos Aires
  7. How To Avoid Pregnancy Scares In Buenos Aires
  8. All Of The Countries Where Birth Control Is Free
  9. Here's a map of the countries where the pill is fully subsidized (it includes Iran)
  10. Princeton EC Website
  11. Princeton EC Website
  12. ARGENTINA - REGULATIONS ON ENTRY, STAY AND RESIDENCE FOR PLHIV
  13. Argentina: Human Papillomavirus and Related Cancers, Fact Sheet 2016
  14. Argentina Decriminalizes Abortion in All Cases of Rape
  15. Abortion in Argentina
  16. Argentina’s Doctors Perform Half a Million Illegal Abortions a Year, But Legalization Still Seems Unlikely
  17. Rape victims struggle to get legal abortions in Argentina
  18. Abortion in Argentina
  19. Argentina’s Doctors Perform Half a Million Illegal Abortions a Year, But Legalization Still Seems Unlikely
  20. Obstacles to the Right to Decide in Matters Concerning Abortion
  21. Abortion in Argentina: Unsafe and Unattainable
  22. How To Avoid Pregnancy Scares In Buenos Aires
  23. Abortion in Argentina: Fact and Fantasy