And it is feared that the ballooning price of protection could lead to higher rates of HIV infection and teenager pregnancy in the impoverished South American country.

When CNN visited eight pharmacies in the capital of Caracas it found that half did not stock condoms at all and that availability in the others was limited.

Some Venezuelans have been buying their contraception online on Mercado Libre – a similar website to eBay. But swelling demand means that protection now comes at a hefty cost, with one seller charging 4760 bolivars – just under £500 – for a box of 36 condoms. That’s heading well towards the average monthly salary of around £590 – and works out at very nearly £14 per pop.

Shortages are commonplace in Venezuela, where the dire economic situation has made everyday items such as milk, corn and chicken so hard to come by that long queues at supermarkets have pushed inflation up to more than 60 per cent. But now the scarcity of basic essentials is affecting the bedroom, with consumers complaining that the pill and condoms are nowhere to be found.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced last June that the government was building a condom factory to address the situation. He kept his word, but pharmacies say the sheaths are of poor quality, and that production has failed to keep pace with demand.

Venezuela has the fifth-highest teen pregnancy rate out of 21 Latin American countries. Its HIV infection rate, at 9.6 per cent of the general population, is also a concern.