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HIV: 16.7 million condoms have already been distributed free of charge to people under 26 years of age

The numbers are encouraging, but there is an “important reminder” that is needed. Since January 1, 2023, some 16.7 million condoms have been distributed free of charge in pharmacies to people under 26 years of age, Emmanuel Macron welcomed on Sunday, the last day of Sidaction. “Condoms are free for you,” the head of state wrote on X. “16.7 million have already been distributed in pharmacies. Enjoy it. Keep protecting yourself! “.

At the end of 2022, Emmanuel Macron announced that this measure would come into force on January 1, 2023, allowing 100% health insurance coverage without a prescription for male condoms for people under 26 years of age. We are talking about four brands: “Eden”, “Go away covered! “, “Be Loved” and “Be Confident and Smile”. Adults must present a Vitale card, proof of licence, or otherwise proof of identity. For minors, an affidavit confirming their age and insured status is sufficient.

The Social Security Funding Act of 2024 also now provides some female condoms free of charge to the same age group. According to the government services website, since January 9, packages of five to ten Ormel brand condoms have been under guard.

The last straight before the end of Sidaction

Sidaction’s 30th charity event, supported by television and radio, runs from Friday to Sunday and ends in a few hours. In 2023, the event raised just over €3.9 million in contributions, close to the amount raised the previous year.

The Sidaction association, which initiated the event, highlighted last January the “a priori positive” assessment of Emmanuel Macron’s measure, with a growing number of condoms being reimbursed by health insurance. But she highlighted the “unacknowledged” impact on public health, questioning “whether free use has actually led to an increase in condom use among young people, or whether it has only led to a shift towards brands that are now free and permanent.” Pierre-Olivier Variot, president of the Union of Public Pharmaceutical Unions (Uspo), also described to the association a measure that is “definitely effective” but unfortunately “not well known among young people.”

Moreover, according to a recent Ifop survey for Sidaction, many 15-24 year olds still ignore condoms: among those who say they have multiple non-regular partners, 45% say they do not regularly use them during sex.

In France, around 200,000 people are living with HIV, and 5,000 new HIV-positive cases were discovered in 2022. While triple therapy can make the virus undetectable and prevent its transmission, current research is not currently able to eliminate its body. Condoms are the only method of contraception that protects against AIDS and, more broadly, sexually transmitted infections.

Source: Le Parisien

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