Female condoms prevent new HIV infections

A female condom program was highly effective in preventing HIV infections, according to a new economic analysis by researchers in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The analysis, published in the journal AIDS and Behavior, found the DC Females Condom program, a public-private partnership to provide and promote a type of female condom, prevent enough infections in one year to save more than $8 million in future medical care costs.

The researchers concluded that for every dollar spent on the program, $20 was saved.

The condom program provided education and distribution of more than 200,000 FC2 Female Condoms in Washington neighborhoods with high HIV rates. It was supported by the Washington Department of Health, the MACS AIDS Fund, community groups and others.

“These results clearly indicate that delivery of, and education about, female condoms is an effective HIV prevention intervention and an outstanding public health investment,” said Dr. David R. Holtgrave, professor and chair of the Department of Health Behavior and Society in the Hopkins public health school, in a statement.

“Similar community HIV prevention programs involving the female condom should be explored for replication in other high risk areas.”

The program targeted urban African American women because they are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, accounting for about 57 percent of new HIV infections in all women and 90 percent of all new HIV infections in Washington.

Researchers say the pilot program shows the female condoms can be protective when there is proper promotion and education.

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