New grassroots prevention, education program to emphasize female contraception

WASHINGTON The MAC AIDS Fund, the Female Health Company, CVS/pharmacy, Washington AIDS Partnership and the DC Department of Health on Wednesday announced a partnership to provide increased access to, availability of and information about the new female condom, FC2, to D.C. residents.

Backed by a $500,000 grant from the MAC AIDS Fund, five local nonprofit organizations will distribute 500,000 female condoms through a grassroots prevention and education program in the neighborhoods of the city with the greatest number of HIV/AIDS cases. Additionally, female condoms will be available exclusively for purchase at 56 CVS/pharmacy stores in the District. The 3-pack FC2 Female Condom retails for $6.49.

Sales of female contraception through food, drug and mass (minus Walmart) outlets is on the rise, realizing 24.8% growth to $145.8 million in sales for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 24, according to Information Resources Inc.

Said Gordon Howard, CVS/pharmacy area VP, "CVS/pharmacy is dedicated to providing our customers with convenient access to affordable products and services that enhance their health and well-being. Ensuring access to the Female Condom at all of our stores in the District is critical to expanding awareness and use to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases. We are proud to participate in this initiative."

"Women have become disadvantaged in prevention and treatment and we need a game-changer," stated Nancy Mahon, the executive director of the MAC AIDS Fund. "A recent survey we published found that women are putting themselves at risk in part because they feel they can't negotiate safe sex. Our hope is that the FC2 female condom will get us one step closer to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS."

"We are thrilled to help bring new tools to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Washington," added Mary Ann Leeper, FHC's senior strategic adviser. "We developed the FC2 Female Condom to give women affordable access to woman-initiated HIV prevention, and we are committed to working with the DC HIV/AIDS Administration and other public sector partners to put the power of HIV prevention in women's hands."

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