Washington health officials are launching yet another campaign to spread the use of condoms. This campaign, though, is quite different: it targets women.
The citywide crusade promotes the use of female condoms in hopes of stopping the spread of AIDS and HIV in the District. A 2009 study found that 3 percent of the Washington population over the age of 12 has HIV or AIDS. That’s one of the highest percentages in the country.
The new campaign is being waged on several fronts. Community groups will be handing out about a half-million female condoms in the coming weeks and months. If you don’t see one of the condoms in person, you’ll most likely see an ad promoting them; posters will be popping up on 460 buses, about a third of the city’s fleet.
So why focus on female condoms now? Supporters say it’s just as effective as male condoms in preventing pregnancy and some sexually transmitted diseases. They also say it empowers women.
“We’re hoping that this will just be part of their arsenal,” Dr. Nnemdi Kamanu Elias of Washington’s Department of Health said. “It’s something they themselves can initiate and they themselves have control over.”