US improving women's access to female condoms

Women across the US are getting better access to female condoms as an effective form of contraception, it has been reported. 

According to a study from Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City, US, the number of states that are now making female condoms available to women through Medicaid is on the rise. 

Female condoms have been an active product on the sexual health market since the mid-1990s, and they are an important method of contraception, offering women both protection against unwanted pregnancy and against the threat of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). 

However, few women actually have easy access to these condoms, and as such, the study looked into how available they are across the US. It looked at the availability of female condoms on Medicaid - a low-income health insurance policy - on a state by state basis, and found that the number of states that do offer them has increased by 30 per cent in the last nine years. 

Overall, 36 states nationwide now offer Medicaid patients the chance to have access to female condoms, which is 11 more states than in 2007, the authors said. 

What the findings did show, however, is that while the availability of female condoms has risen across the US in the last decade, particularly for women on a low income, the number actually using them has not. 

“Some states had thousands of claims, whereas others had few to none. Some states reimbursed hundreds of thousands of dollars, but others reimbursed less than $10 per year,” the authors wrote in the American Journal of Public Health.

“Used correctly, the female condom can provide as much protection as the male condom,” the authors said, adding that overall, the use of female condoms on a nationwide basis appears to remain low, even as access to them has improved drastically.ADNFCR-2094-ID-801839480-ADNFCR