Emmanuel Macron has announced that condoms will now be free for 18-25 year-olds in France starting from next year.
The news came yesterday (December 8) when the French president was speaking at an event for young people’s health. The measure is designed to drive down the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and reduce unwanted pregnancies.
According to the BBC, France experienced a 30 per cent national rise in STI rates in 2020 and 2021. According to a study by student health insurance company HEYME, a quarter of 18-25 year olds said that they “don’t always” or “never” use condoms with a new sexual partner.
Macron also admitted that sex education in France was an area in which the country was lacking. “We are not very good on this subject. The reality is very, very different from the theory,” he said.
French citizens in the 18-25 age bracket can collect the free condoms from pharmacies in a move that Macron hailed as a “small revolution for contraception”. He later announced in a tweet that emergency contraception will soon be free for all women in pharmacies, while those under 26 will be able to get tested for STIs (except HIV) for free without a prescription.
La gratuité des préservatifs pour les jeunes s'appuie sur d'autres mesures : gratuité de la contraception d’urgence pour toutes les femmes en pharmacie, dépistage gratuit sans ordonnance élargi à d’autres infections sexuellement transmissibles que le VIH pour les moins de 26 ans.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) December 8, 2022
Earlier this year, France extended its provision of free contraception for women in order to prevent women from stopping using it because they can’t afford it. Previously, contraception was free for under 18s, but it will now be free for all women under 26.
In 2018, the French government started reimbursing the costs of condoms to individuals, if purchased in a pharmacy with a prescription from a doctor or midwife. However, many young people have been unaware that they could do this, according to The New York Times.