President hails ‘revolution for contraception’ as government seeks to curb STIs and unwanted pregnancies
Agence France-Presse in Fontaine-le-Comte
The French president has said condoms will be made available for free in pharmacies for 18- to 25-year-olds in an attempt to reduce unwanted pregnancies among young people.
“It’s a small revolution for contraception,” Emmanuel Macron announced during a health debate with young people in Fontaine-le-Comte, a suburb of Poitiers in western France.
The move comes after the government began offering free birth control for all women under 25 this year, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women do not stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.
Condoms are already reimbursed by the national healthcare system if prescribed by a doctor or midwife, a measure intended to fight the spread of Aids and other sexually transmitted infections.
On sexual education overall, the president said: “We are not very good on this subject. The reality is very, very different from the theory. It’s an area where we need to much better educate our teachers.”
While the government considered its response to a rise in Covid cases in the lead-up to Christmas, Macron wore a face mask at the conference and claimed he was following health ministry guidelines, though so far no mask mandates had been reintroduced.
“Faced with the new epidemic spread… We don’t necessarily want to go back to general mandates, so I believe it’s good to set an example, he said.
As winter approaches, officials are advising people to get booster shots of the Covid vaccine and to wear masks in crowded places.