Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Female condom program shown to be a success in Washington, D.C.


Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently released the results of an analysis on the efficacy of a female condom educational program in Washington D.C. The results of their study were encouraging and point to the prophylactic as a significantly effective HIV-prevention tool.

The D.C. Department of Health, the Washington AIDS Partnership, CVS/Caremark and the Female Health Company all joined forces to implement the program, which provided education and 200,000 female condoms to women in the capitol.

When examining the rates of new HIV infections among women living in the D.C. region both before and after the educational sessions, the researchers concluded that the decrease in HIV cases following the female condom intervention amounted to $8 million in savings. Authors of the study noted that the monetary figure takes into account the lifetime cost of treating HIV. Moreover, they said that this results in a $20 savings for every $1 that was spent on the prophylactics and education.

"These results clearly indicate that delivery of, and education about, female condoms is an effective HIV prevention intervention and an outstanding public health investment. Similar community HIV prevention programs involving the female condom should be explored for replication in other high risk areas," said David Holtgrave, professor and chair of the Department of Health Behavior and Society.

The researchers said that these interventions are especially helpful in regions with a high concentration of at-risk individuals, such as D.C. Additionally, they said that women have the greatest chances of becoming infected with HIV through unprotected vaginal sex, and black women account for an estimated 57 percent of new HIV infections among women in the U.S. In D.C., African American women make up a shocking 90 percent of all new HIV cases.

Gregory Pappas, the senior deputy director of the HIV/AIDS STD Administration of the D.C. Department of health, said that female empowerment is critical to reducing the rates of HIV infection among the population, and that this may be achieved through awareness campaigns as well as female condom use.

According to Planned Parenthood, one benefit of using female condoms over those meant to be worn by men is that it gives women more power and responsibility over their sexual well-being.

Women who are at risk of contracting HIV may want to consider seeking STD testing centers in Washington, D.C.