For Immediate Release
Female Condoms Ignored by Donors
VIENNA - HIV and AIDS women's health advocates at the International
AIDS Conference have criticized the lack of funding and policy support
from international donors and governments for female condoms, which are a
critical woman-initiated tool for fighting the HIV epidemic.
"If you have access to a female condom, you can protect your partner,
and if you are HIV positive you can protect yourself from reinfection
and unwanted pregnancy" said Carol Nawina Nyrienda, national coordinator
of the Community Initiative for TB, HIV/AIDS & Malaria (CITAM+) in
Zambia. Nyrienda, who contracted HIV from her husband, underscored the
need for a woman-initiated protection option. "We cannot depend on our
partners to save our own lives," she said.
Women all over the world have expressed a demand for
the female condom but donors and governments have yet to provide
corresponding funding and program support. While the United States
government has increased its investment in female condoms, women's
health advocates note that more significant resources are needed to
achieve a woman-focused approach to HIV/AIDS.
"The true travesty is in Sub-Saharan Africa," said Lucie van Mens,
coordinator of the Universal Access to Female Condoms Joint Programme,
in which Oxfam is a partner. "Women make up an estimated 60
percent of adults living with the virus, yet female condoms are
only available at a rate of one for every 300 women per year. We have
to approach the HIV and AIDS epidemic with women in mind, and female
condoms are a critical component to that."
"Female condoms are vitally important in the fight against HIV and
AIDS, particularly as it empowers women to take the initiative in their
own sexual health," said Jim Clarken, head of the Oxfam delegation at
the International AIDS Conference.
Women's health advocates at the press conference said further
research and development is needed in order to diversify the range of
products on the market and to reduce costs.
Watch the video: The female condom is here to stay!
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