The Washington, D.C. Female Condom initiative is a unique demonstration project which aims to increase awareness, understanding, and use of the female condom, an underutilized HIV and STI prevention method. Funded by the M∙A∙C AIDS Fund, this public-private partnership aims to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission in the District of Columbia.
The Washington AIDS Partnership leads this initiative, in collaboration with the D.C. Department of Heath’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STI, and TB Administration (HAHSTA); the Female Health Company; CVS/Pharmacy; and five local community partners: Calvary Healthcare, Metro TeenAIDS, Our Place D.C., Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, and the Women’s Collective. These community partners provide in-depth education about and access to female condoms for women and their partners.
The female condom is similar to the male condom in efficacy and reliability. According to a World Health Organization study, male and female condoms are close to equivalent in preventing unintended pregnancies:
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted a cost-utility analysis of the first year of the Female Condom initiative. They found that enough HIV infections were prevented to save over $8 million in future medical care costs (over and above the cost of the program). The results of this study were recently published in the Journal of AIDS and Behavior.Agencies who would like to incorporate female condoms into HIV prevention interventions need to: