International Business Times reported that Positive Women, Inc. (PWI), a national support organization for women and families with HIV in New Zealand, recently announced that New Zealand Minister of Health Tony Ryall had approved a proposed amendment to the Contraception, Sterilisation, Abortion Act 1977. This amendment cleared the way for the sale of the FC2 female condom in New Zealand. PWI worked for three years through its Paper Doll Campaign to get this approval. Jane Bruning, PWI’s national coordinator, noted that the organization is happy about women having access to the female condom, but the next step would be to obtain a government subsidy for FC2 to help make the female condom affordable and receive the same level of significance as the male condom. FC2 is reported to be softer and less noisy than the earlier female condom. The United States approved FC2 in 2009. Despite its availability in other countries, the female condom is not very popular with women. The cost is reported to be one of the reasons for its lack of popularity—it costs 60 cents compared to three cents for a male condom. Also, few research studies support the female condom’s effectiveness in preventing STDs. In addition, lack of support from lawmakers and low awareness among women and their partners are cited among reasons for its lack of use. Advocates of women’s empowerment hope that the approval of FC2’s sale in New Zealand would increase its use. According to FC2 distributor GLYDE Healthcare New Zealand, the female condom will be available on May 1.
- International News