When a man comes up with excuses for not using a male condom, women have a right to introduce their own tool for protection.
– Deusdeait Kiwanuka, Project Coordinator, Safe Homes and Respect for Everyone (SHARE)
Deusdeait’s words poignantly capture a major challenge in fighting HIV/AIDS: to ensure women have access to prevention tools designed to put them in charge and give them an opportunity to initiate protection. Enter the female condom – the only safe and effective prevention tool that is designed for women to initiate and is available for use NOW. But “available for use” doesn’t necessarily translate into “accessible to women” – whether in the U.S. or abroad.
Consider Uganda, where the Ministry of Health reports that 76% of the country’s new infections are sexually transmitted and women make up 60% of those infected. Moreover, 42% of new infections occur in marital sex. These sobering statistics cry out for expanding prevention options that put women in the driver’s seat. Despite this, women and their partners currently have no access to female condoms in the country.