Female Condom Will ‘Benefit’ Public Health, Women Worldwide, Editorial SaysFDA approval of the Female Health Company-developed FC2 second generation female condom -- which is expected within the next six months and "appears likely" after a unanimous advisory panel recommendation in December 2008 -- "has the potential to be a real lifesaver," a Chicago Tribune editorial says. The female condom "allows women to take the lead in protecting themselves" from HIV/AIDS because "they don't have to rely on their male partner to take responsibility," the editorial says. It adds that a 2005 study by David Holtgrave -- chair of the Department of Health Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health -- found that 10,000 HIV cases in South Africa could be prevented through the distribution of 16.6 million female condoms, which also would save up to $35.7 million in health care costs. "The FC2 could save lives" in the U.S. as well, "especially in the [black] community," the editorial continues, adding that black women are highly affected by HIV/AIDS in the country.
According to the editorial, many "women are reluctant to push their partners to wear condoms, for fear of driving them away." Although FC2 would be about 30% less expensive than the first generation version -- which costs $1.15 to $2.75 in the U.S. and about 80 cents in other parts of the world -- the cost "might still be a barrier because male condoms are significantly less expensive," the editorial writes. Increased availability and affordability of FC2 "could allow women to protect themselves without having to negotiate with their partners," the editorial continues. Female condoms "should see a rise in demand as the price drops," the editorial says, concluding that FC2 "will be a benefit to public health here and abroad" (Chicago Tribune, 1/24). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.