October 1, 2009
Chicago, Ill. -- The Female Health Company (FHC) (NASDAQ: FHCO) is announcing today that its second-generation FC2 Female Condom®, which received regulatory approval from the Food and Drug Administration in March as an HIV prevention method, is now available for purchase in the United States.
The company will make the announcement in Atlanta at a meeting of the Southeastern Urban Initiative for Reproductive Health, a coalition of reproductive health advocates from Southern states that is seeking increased federal funding for HIV prevention.
"America's HIV epidemic isn't going away. In fact, it's getting worse, and African American and Latino women are disproportionately impacted," said Dazon Dixon Diallo, Founder and President of SisterLove, a grassroots service organization based in Atlanta that supports HIV/AIDS prevention and reproductive health programs for women. "It's time to provide women in heavily impacted communities with expanded access to affordable women-controlled options, and the female condom becomes that choice. Women will use it if they have it."
"We're thrilled that FC2 is now available in the United States," said Mary Ann Leeper, FHC's senior strategic adviser, who will deliver a keynote address on the female condom and woman-initiated prevention at the Atlanta meeting. "We developed the female condom to provide women with access to HIV prevention that they can initiate. We know that women and men practice safer sex when they have access to more prevention methods, and we believe that access to the female condom can help millions of American women negotiate safer sex with their partners."
FC2 may be purchased from the Company's two public sector distributors: Total Access Group, Inc. www.totalaccessgroup.com and Global Protection Corporation, www.globalprotection.com/store. In addition, FHC has launched a website, www.fc2femalecondom.com, which includes tiered pricing information for ordering a minimum quantity of 25,000 units directly from the Company. Price per unit will decline based on the volume purchased. The maximum price to purchase FC2 from the Company's distributors is $0.82/unit regardless of quantity, approximately a 30% decrease from the unit price paid for FC1.
FC2 will be available in certain retail outlets, and FHC is seeking a partner with appropriate experience to promote FC2 directly to consumers in the U.S.
Seven of the top 10 states ranked by the rate of AIDS cases are in the U.S. South, and FHC will announce today that it is initiating a program to work with a number of southern reproductive health service organizations to provide free allotments of FC2 Female Condoms as part of an introductory awareness and education program, including training for health care providers on how to integrate female condom education into reproductive health counseling.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that women represent a growing proportion of Americans living with HIV and AIDS. Over the past two decades, the percentage of women among all people living with HIV in the U.S. has increased from 8 percent to 27 percent. African American and Latino women are also disproportionately impacted by the epidemic. African American women account for 66 percent of new AIDS cases among American women, while Latino women are five times more likely than white women to be diagnosed with AIDS.
The AIDS case rate is significantly higher in the U.S. South than in other regions of the country, and the prevalence of HIV and AIDS cases in some southern communities is comparable to prevalence figures for West Africa.
More than 70 reproductive health and HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations in the U.S. have called on donors and implementing agencies to expand women's access to the female condom, which remains the only safe and effective method of woman-initiated HIV prevention currently available.