NPR featured HAHSTA Director Dr. Shannon Hader yesterday in a conversation with other national leaders of the mission to increase female condoms around the United States as a means of protecting against HIV and other STDs.
“We have persistent impressions of 1981, that maybe HIV is still just a gay white man’s disease,” says Hader. “That probably wasn’t true at the time either. But we know now for sure, HIV is a women’s disease too.”
Hader and her colleagues defended the female condom as an effective tool – and an empowering one – for women, despite some women’s initial wariness of the product.
NPR reported that the M.A.C AIDS Fund is funding the campaign to distribute half a million female condoms specifically in Washington, D.C. The fund’s executive director, Nancy Mahon, reveals that the project has been a public-private partnership between her organization, the CDC and CVS drugstores, which has agreed to carry the female condom, so that women who try the free condoms and like them will have a place to buy them.
The free condoms will be distributed in clothing stores, beauty salons and other public gathering places.
“The best examples oftentimes have been barber shops and beauty salons, where people hang out,” Hader says. “They start conversations, and even just having that fishbowl of condoms there, starts people talking about sex … so we think these are really friendly places to introduce some of these really important safer sex products.”
Listen to or read the full report “Female condom reintroduced as tool to fight AIDS,” here.