French President, Emmanuel Macron has ordered pharmacies to disperse free condoms to young people under the age of 26.
In what Macron called “a small revolution in preventative healthcare.” the new health strategy aims to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among young people in France.
The move came into place on New Year’s Day and was announced by Macron in December. It was initially aimed at those aged 18-25, but was later extended to minors.
Emergency contraception will also be available for free to all women without a prescription as of January 1, according to a tweet from government spokesperson Olivier Veran on Monday, January 2.
The latest measures come as health authorities estimate that the rate of STDs in France increased by about 30% in 2020 and 2021, Reuters news agency reported.
“It’s a small revolution in preventative healthcare. It’s essential so that our young people protect themselves during sexual intercourse,” Macron said in December.
Since January 1, 2022, French women under the age of 26 already had access to free contraception. This included consultations with doctors or midwives and medical procedures associated with their chosen contraceptive.