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France to make condoms free for under-25s, Macron says

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PARIS — France will make free condoms in pharmacies for anyone up to the age of 25 in the new year, President Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday.

The move comes as the government says sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise among young people and this year’s exceptional inflation is cutting particularly deep into the budgets of France’s poorest people.

Girls and women aged 25 and under can already benefit from free contraception in France as part of the government’s efforts to ensure that young people of all incomes can avoid unwanted pregnancies. Existing measures do not apply to men, however, or specifically address access for transgender or non-binary people.

Macron had said on Thursday that condoms would be free in pharmacies for anyone aged 18 to 25 from January 1. the program.

“Let’s do it,” Macron said in a selfie video he shot on the sidelines of a summit in Spain. He later tweeted, “A lot of minors have sex too…they have to protect themselves too.”

Macron, who was France’s youngest president when he was first elected in 2017 at the age of 39, also vowed to step up efforts to prevent and test for HIV and other sexually transmitted viruses. transmissible.

The French public health system covers some, but not all, birth control costs, and doctor’s appointments for low-income patients often require long waits. Abortions in France are available free of charge to everyone.

Several other European countries offer free or subsidized contraception.

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