Condoms, Abortions, Plan B and Panamanian doctors.
Today´s blog post was inspired by a text I received. This got me thinking about all the other challenges surrounding sexual health in general in Panama City. Also, I´m really sex-positive and don´t really have any trouble talking about sex.
Well, maybe not for my mother 😟.
Only me? It´s weird and awkward. Depending on your parents of course. However, my momma is still an African parent so yeah.
Finding people to take care of your body in general or even finding products can be a challenge in your native country. This is especially true in a foreign country where your Spanish is mas o menos.
Let´s start with condoms in Panama.
Lil Wayne said: ‘Great sex is safe sex so better get a latex, but in Panama City these latexes are trash.’
Does a Lil Wayne reference make me old now??..
The struggle! Most expats that I have spoken to gave the same sigh or said they eventually ordered some or just gave up trying to find any that they liked.
So the most popular brand they have here is Durex. The most common type I´ve seen is the red and blue standard and the extra thick.
Who in the hell wants those? Probably why they are the most common ones I see.
Don´t buy these! Your D or V will thank you later.
However, if you can find the thin or extra-thin versions of these, maybe give those a try.
The next most popular is Trojan. As an American, I am used to Trojan; however, I haven’t found the version I like here in Panama. Many of the standard blue and red brands, as well as Magnums, are displayed there.
Other local brands have caught my attention, and it’s name is More brand. I have found an extra-thin in this brand before. If you Whatsapp the company, you might be able to get a box delivered. The box I bought contained lube and a mini toy. I was surprised when I opened the box to find these in it.
Don’t judge my Spanish comprehension skills.
My common frustration is that I can barely find thin or extra-thin condoms in Panama. Also, in some stores, you need to ask for the condoms you want because they are located behind the counter.
Excuse sir or ma´am I am trying to practice safe sex here please hand me those …(points)…. thanks! 😅
The nice thing is buying condoms is easy and sold in many grocery stores, corner stores, pharmacies, and sometimes in liquor stores too.
So, if you find a condom brand or type you like in Panama tell your expat friends. All of us are struggling to find it locally in the city.
Birth control and Plan B
So Panama can be very backward in how they operate or some laws or rules. However, you just have to accept it and roll with the crazy rules.
Panama’s weird contraceptive law says that pill birth control contraceptives can be bought at any pharmacy. However, they suggest consulting a doctor to determine what brand to use.
Here´s the kicker: Plan B needs to be prescribed by a doctor. So you have to call to make an appointment for the doctor to prescribe it. Then you have to wait a few hours or maybe the next day depending on time to get a Plan B.
No more sending your boyfriend, or the man you have been in a situationship with for awhile, to go pick it up. This is because you didn´t want to use the crappy Panama condoms and you’re ovulating. Furthermore, gone are the days of random hookups and condom failures. You run to the pharmacy that night because you don´t want a kid with a person you don´t even remember their name the next day.
Okay, you get the point.
Some proactive tips if you plan to move to Panama. Buy a few boxes and bring them with you. If you have a friend flying to Panama ask them to bring a few boxes with them for you. Additionally, it might be possible to order it, but we need to check the requirements for shipping contraceptives to Panama.
So currently, it is illegal to have a voluntary abortion. Abortion is, however, covered by most insurance policies in Panama. The reason it is covered is that abortion is allowed in high-risk medical situations where a doctor has to save the mother or child.
However, if you need an abortion, you possibly travel to Colombia. Colombia abortion is legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. There are plenty of black expat groups that can be a valuable asset in pointing you to a good doctor or clinic.
In Panama, the medical field is reserved for only Panamanians unless you are married to Panamanian or a company is bringing you in from another country.
I will say that my experience with Panamanian doctors wasn´t great. I scheduled an appointment, then waited for 2 and a half hours to be serviced. Mind you, the neighborhood I was in is a predominantly affluent neighborhood. After I was finally seen by the doctor, he wasn’t very patient, gentle, or personable.
I needed to ask for the doctor my friend recommended, but I didn’t, so I ended up with a completely different doctor. These things are very important, especially in doctors’ offices. It’s quite different from my physicians and doctors at home.
Many other expats have had different issues with not liking the doctors here. They sometimes don´t completely explain what they are doing or what you are paying for. Scheduling can be a problem where they will cancel the appointment 30 minutes before the appointment and have to reschedule a few times.
My expat friends and I find that some doctors do not seem as attentive as we are used to. I know people from various parts of the world.
So I suggest asking around and asking for the same doctor that a friend or acquaintance recommends. Don´t make the same mistake as I did.
Also, Expat Health Services owned by Mike Kelly is really trustworthy too. Sometimes it’s a little more expensive, but quality and reliable service make it worthwhile. I usually pay more for better service.
Frequently traveling abroad or living abroad can present both big and small challenges, such as learning different laws and practices or switching to unfamiliar brands. Navigate these areas with better knowledge and understanding. Be a bit more prepared to live or visit Panama in all of these areas.
Comment below with your good or bad experiences searching for condoms, plan B, doctor visits, or abortion laws or updates.
Curious about dating while black in Panama? To read more about my feelings about dating in Panama click here!
Disclaimer: This is all my opinions, observations, and personal experience. Your thoughts on touchy subjects like abortion or Plan B are entirely your own. You should not use this page to hurt others with your words.
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