September 12, 2012 | The Editors

Happy female condom day

Today is the first-ever Global Female Condom Day, and that means we’ve got a unique opportunity as well as a serious responsibility. Our celebrations today will set the course of Global Female Condom Day festivities for decades to come.

So, what do you want to do?

Join in Global Female Condom Day sing-a-longs? (“Love to Love You Baby” sounds great sung in rounds.) Organize a Global Female Condom Day of service? (Take a female condom advocate to lunch.) Develop the signature cocktail of Global Female Condom Day? (Something tall and cool, or maybe strong and hot.)

If you’ve got other ideas, do tell all. Chime in on Facebook, Twitter, or in comments to this post and we’ll round up the best ideas for a future post.

The serious side

Female hand holding PATH's Woman's Condom.
PATH’s Woman’s Condom. Photo: PATH/Glenn Austin.

Global Female Condom Day sounds whimsical, but the organizers have a serious purpose. They want to draw attention to tools that “have the potential to revolutionize safer sex for diverse populations around the world.” Patricia S. Coffey, who helps lead PATH’s Woman’s Condom project, puts it this way on today’s USAID Impact blog:

“Female condoms offer women—and men—dual protection from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. Female condoms are easy to use and can afford women greater control over safe sex negotiation—an especially important benefit in countries where women’s risk of contracting HIV is high. Some have argued that female condoms are too expensive, but mathematical modeling shows they can be a cost-effective public health intervention when offered as part of a well-planned STI and pregnancy prevention program.

“But even with all of these advantages, female condoms don’t get the attention they deserve. The first female condom was introduced two decades ago. Yet today, awareness and availability remains too low in too many places, including areas with high rates of HIV infection and unmet need for family planning.”

Get out there and . . . advocate

At PATH, we’re doing our part. Along with our partners, we tapped the knowledge and experience of real women and their partners to develop and test the Woman’s Condom. Our goal was to design a product that’s easy to insert, stays in place during use, and is comfortable and provides good sensation for both partners. Now, we’re working with local partners to bring the Woman’s Condom to market in China and sub-Saharan Africa.

We’re not too shy to admit it: we’re excited by the potential of female condoms. If you are too, let us know. Tell us how you plan to celebrate.

More information

Global Female Condom Day website

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