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Latin American and U.S. Latina Women Unite to Demand Access to the Female Condom
Date:12/1/2008

feminization of the epidemic in our communities demands a woman-centered response."

"Research shows that when women and men have access to the female condom and education on its use, it becomes a product that they demand," Dr. Valenzuela added. "The female condom strengthens HIV protection by providing women with a method that they can initiate with their partners. It also alleviates male condom fatigue by providing couples with another family planning option and another way to practice safe sex."

The coalition has praised recent steps by the Brazilian government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to increase the purchase and distribution of female condoms to women and men in communities heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS. But Dr. Valenzuela notes that HIV prevention programs are still not providing women with adequate education on the female condom. Global distribution of the female condom also remains extremely low relative to the male condom.

In 2007, twenty-seven million female condoms were purchased by HIV prevention programs worldwide, the equivalent of just one female condom per year for every sixty-two women aged 15 to 49. By comparison, between six and nine billion male condoms were purchased.

"Global investment in programs that provide women and men with affordable access to HIV prevention methods has stagnated over the past decade, and federal government funding for U.S. family planning programs has remained flat for several years," Dr. Valenzuela said. "Women want to take steps to protect themselves, their partners, and their families, but they cannot do so if they don't have affordable access to male and female condoms."

The coalition has called on national governments and international donors to dramatically increase investments in the purchase, distribution and programming of female condoms worldwide.

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SOURCE Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
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