The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently approved a $2 million contract to make more than two million female condoms available in health clinics and organizations citywide to help curb the spread of HIV, the New York Daily News reports. Advertisement
The city began offering no-cost female condoms -- which are inserted like diaphragms -- about 10 years ago, but health officials said they need to increase the supply because the condoms have become so popular. According to the health department, the city in 2007 distributed 659,000 female condoms, 200,000 more than in 2006. Monica Sweeney, assistant commissioner of the health department's HIV Prevention and Control Bureau, said that the health department wanted to make female condoms available because many women cannot afford them or do not know they are an option. Female condoms cost about $3 each, compared with $1 for male condoms, according to Sweeney.
The agency also is providing more education about female condoms to community-based groups and to clinics in neighborhoods with high rates of HIV, Sweeney said. She added that many groups already provide the condoms alongside male condoms during HIV awareness fairs. "I want to make sure there is a female condom in the hands of anyone who wants to use it," Sweeney said, adding, "We want females to have this as an alternative if they can't negotiate with their male partner to use a male condom."
A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of New York City
praised the health department for purchasing the female condoms, adding, "The more it becomes available and the more it becomes mainstream, I suspect more women will use it. It gives them a choice" (Lucadamo, New York Daily News
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