Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, has directed pharmacists to give away free condoms to young people under the age of 26.
The new health plan intends to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among young people in France, calling it “a modest revolution in preventative healthcare” (Macron).
The change was implemented on January 1 and was first announced by Macron in December. Aiming initially at people between the ages of 18 and 25, it eventually expanded to include children.
According to a tweet from government spokesman Olivier Veran on Monday, January 2, emergency contraception will also be free to all women without a prescription as of January 1.
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.