In order to curb sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the French government has made condoms free for everyone younger than 26 years old. The measure, which came into place on New Year's Day, was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron in early December. The new health strategy initially aimed at French citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 but was expanded to minors as well, CNN reported.
According to government spokesperson Olivier Veran's tweet, France has also made emergency contraception free for all women without a prescription. As per the outlet, since January 1, 2022, French women under the age of 25 already had access to free contraception. However, the new scheme targets under-18s to ensure young women do not skip taking contraception because they cannot afford it.
"Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise among young people. This is why we are embarking on a small prevention revolution," French President Emmanuel Macron said in December. "It's essential so that our young people protect themselves during sexual intercourse," Mr Macron added.
Also Read | 4 Injured As Tesla Plunges 250 Feet Off Cliff In US
Meanwhile, in France, condoms are already available for free at STD screening centres and some school centres. French citizens who are 26 or older can also be reimbursed for condom purchases with a prescription from a doctor. This measure intends to fight the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
On sexual education overall, "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 out teachers," Mr Macron said.
The latest measures come as health authorities estimate that the rate of STDs in France increased by about 30 percent in 2020 and 2021.