- France will start offering free condoms to all young people in January in order to fight against STIs.
- Health officials say STIs have been on the rise lately, especially among young people.
- More than a quarter of people say they never or always use a condom, according to a 2021 study.
France will make free condoms available to all young people from January to curb the rising rate of sexually transmitted infections in the country, President Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday.
Macron announced the new measure in a Twitter Video Friday. The move is part of a broader health initiative to improve public access to personal health care, including contraception and STI testing.
“It’s a small revolution for prevention,” Macron said of the condom push.
The decision was partly prompted by the rising rate of sexually transmitted infections in the country in recent years, including chlamydia and gonorrhea. In 2020 and 2021, France recorded a national increase of 30% in STI rates, according to BBC News.
Young people in particular have become more prone to infections, French health officials said, largely due to a lack of knowledge about preventive methods.
Macron acknowledged that the country has a “real problem” regarding young people’s sexual health in his video on Friday, according to French reports. “We’re not good at it,” he reportedly said.
The condom policy was initially meant to apply only to people between the ages of 18 and 25, but after an outcry from activists and others on Friday, Macron agreed to include all young people, including minors.
A 2021 study first reported by The New York Times found that more than a quarter of French people say they never or never wear a condom. According to the study, the main reason given for not using one was that people did not have one with them.
Since 2018, the French government has reimbursed the cost of condoms to people who buy them in pharmacies and have a prescription. The expansion of the policy due to begin next year is an effort to make more people aware of their access to birth control measures.
Women in the country aged 25 and under are already eligible for free contraception from this year in a bid to ensure everyone can prevent unwanted pregnancies.