Government spends a great amount in its HIV prevention medical care programs. However, a study has found that giving away free female condoms is even more cost effective and is considered a better public health investment.
Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that although distributing female condoms free of charge is an expensive move, it has its benefits. Their study showed that the action is even cost effective for the reason that medical care for HIV-positive and AIDS patients is very expensive.
The health program referred to in this study is the campaign by Washington public health authorities in 2010. This particular program distributed some 500,000 female condoms which proved to be effective in preventing 23 infections. The contraceptive was distributed among convenience stores, beauty salons, community clinics and other locations.
The researchers, in their study published in the journal AIDS & Behavior, stated that the initial 200,000 condoms were worth $414,000. However, despite the fact that the cost was greater than the $367,000 lifetime medical care cost for HIV patients, the scientists believed the program was efficient.
The cost savings for every dollar spent on the program was almost $20. In total, the estimated cost of savings in medical costs moving forward would be $8 million.
Due to a high level of HIV cases in the U.S. capital of Washington, the government launched an HIV program to combat the spread of the disease. It was discovered that at least three percent of residents in the city have contracted HIV, a rate that is considered highest among other cities across the country. The risky sexual behavior of African American heterosexuals in the area was attributed to the high level of HIV cases.
Health authorities then focused on giving away female condoms instead of the usual male condoms in an effort to give women more control in protecting themselves against sexually transmitted diseases. This way the females can ensure their protection in the event their male partners forget or refuse to wear a condom during intercourse.
Johns Hopkins University researchers found the program was a success as a greater number of women were able to accept the female condom and use it for their protection. The training done to people that included hairstylists at beauty salons was also effective in encouraging women to be more comfortable in sharing about their sexual health. It gave assurance as well to HIV-positive women that they can still have sex despite their condition. In fact, the program also led men to accept the use of the female contraceptive.
The female condom was invented some 30 years ago by a Danish doctor. However, it had not gained popularity among the well-off and disadvantaged women. In the U.S., many women complained of its high price particular the first-generation one. The Female Health condoms, however, are now offered at just about the same price as the male condoms
The latest female condoms are made from nitrile, a synthetic rubber polymer. It is a softer material that allows women to still enjoy a pleasurable sexual experience.