BALTIMORE, March 30 (UPI) -- A female condom program in Washington prevented enough HIV infections in one year to save $8 million in future medical costs, researchers said.
Dr. David R. Holtgrave of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said a public-private coalition of the District of Columbia Department of Health, the Washington AIDS Partnership, CVS/Caremark and the Female Health Company provided educational services and distributed more than 200,000 FC2 Female Condoms in areas in the district with disproportionately high HIV prevalence rates among women.
Women, particularly African-American women in urban areas, are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS -- accounting for roughly 57 percent of new HIV infections in all U.S. women and 90 percent of all new HIV infections in the district, Holtgrave said.
"These results clearly indicate that delivery of, and education about, female condoms is an effective HIV prevention intervention and an outstanding public health investment -- for every dollar spent on the program, there was a cost savings of nearly $20," Holtgrave said in a statement. "Similar community HIV prevention programs involving the female condom should be explored for replication in other high risk areas."
The study published in the journal AIDS and Behavior concluded the provision and promotion of female condoms in high HIV prevalence geographic areas is a highly productive use of public health investment.