Thinking about empowerment on International Women’s Day

As you might have heard, today (March 8th) is International Women’s Day. In honor of the holiday, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight the only woman-controlled method of birth control that also prevents STDs and HIV.

That’s right, I’m talking about the female condom. Now, our Wrap MCs may think they know all about it already, since they’ve watched these excellent instructional videos as part of their certification, but there’s more to it than that, as Serra Sippel of the Center for Health and Gender Empowerment (CHANGE) points out in her piece on the Huffington Post:

Last fall, USAID released for the first time ever guidance on including female condoms in HIV interventions. It highlights the major selling points of the female condom: it is safe and effective, it is a cost effective HIV prevention intervention, it increases protected sex, and it is a largely untapped resource for HIV prevention. It calls for U.S. global HIV programs to build upon PEPFAR’s legislative mandate to endorse women-initiated means of protection against HIV/AIDS and promote the female condom as a safe and effective HIV prevention intervention.

But the female condom, or FC2, isn’t just a tool for women abroad. It can be useful here, too – revolutionary, even. Teaching younger women to use the female condom not only gives them another option for protection; it encourages them to be proactive – rather than reactive – where their bodies are concerned. It opens up a whole new dynamic in conversations about contraception and disease prevention. And if you ask me, that’s an excellent take-home message for a day like today.

Don’t forget – this Saturday, March 10th is National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Check out this link for a list of related events in DC.

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