FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  7 April 2014

 FEMALE CONDOMS FINALLY GIVEN THE STAMP OF APPROVAL AND WILL BE AVAILABLE IN NEW ZEALAND

Positive Women Inc. (PWI) , the national support organisation for women and families living with HIV and AIDS is very pleased to announce that Tony Ryall, Minister of Health has approved an amendment to the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977 to allow for the sale of female condoms within New Zealand.

For over three years PWI has been calling for female condoms to be made available in New Zealand with their Paper Doll Campaign. Exactly one month ago today, PWI National Coordinator, Jane Bruning stood on the steps of Parliament and presented hundreds of paper dolls and a petition to Labour MP Carol Beaumont, Spokesperson for Women's Affairs with the hope that this would lend support to the Ministry of Health approving the sale of female condoms in New Zealand.

Jane Bruning says, “We are ecstatic that the FC2 is finally to be made available in New Zealand. We have campaigned long and hard for this through the Paper Doll Campaign. The Female Condom empowers women to take control over their sexual health and safety making it an important option for women. The next battle will be to ensure they are subsidized so they are not only available but affordable, at the same level as the male condom”.

FC2 Female condoms were not available in New Zealand as the synthetic latex material they are made out of, nitrile, was not approved by MedSafe. PWI believes that due in part to their Paper Doll Campaign, MedSafe undertook a consultation on the standard for female condoms in late 2013 and passed their recommendation for approval to the Ministry of Health.

Dane McIndoe, Managing Director of GLYDE Healthcare NZ, Distributor of the FC2 Female Condom says “says “This is a massive win for all women in NZ, it is very rewarding to see such a positive result come from the Paper Doll Campaign. Jane and her supporters have done an amazing job over the last three years” There will be an official launch for the FC2 Female Condom on May 1st 2014 when they will also be publicly available via the GLYDE Healthcare website.  Retail stockists across New Zealand will have them for sale from Friday 2nd May 2014.

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NOTES TO JOURNALISTS

Positive Women Inc. became involved in the promotion and education of the female condom with their participation in the international Paper Doll Campaign three years ago. At events, members of the public wrote messages of support for female condoms on paper dolls. All the paper dolls from all over the world were made into massive chains and presented at an international conference on female condoms in the Netherlands and to the UN Population Fund highlighting the growing worldwide demand for female condoms. After the campaign was finished, PWI got permission to continue the campaign nationally. On Friday March 7th, the eve of International Women’s Day, Positive Women Inc. presented hundreds of paper dolls to Labour MP Carol Beaumont, Spokesperson for Women's Affairs, on the steps of Parliament. It was intended that Carol Beaumont would present our petition to the Ministry of Health when they met to discuss the MedSafe recommendation.

The female condom has been on the market since 1993 and the UN characterises them as essential commodities for women’s health. It protects women against pregnancy, HIV, and other STIs, and does not need to be negotiated with men to be used, can be inserted preemptively, has no side effects and you don’t have to see a health provider to get it.

PWI was selling FC2 female condoms imported from Australia but in 2012 received a strongly worded letter from MedSafe to cease or face a large fine as the selling of female condoms is illegal. The FC2 is made of nitrile, a synthetic latex that does not have the required approval. PWI has asked MedSafe if they can sell female condoms made of latex, which is what male condoms are made of, but this inquiry has been met by silence. It wasn’t long after PWI sent letters to all government officials with health portfolios asking for their support that MedSafe announced that they were undertaking a consultation process on the FC2.

Positive Women Inc. is an organisation providing support to women and families living with HIV. Positive Women Inc. also aims to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS in the community through educational programmes with a focus on prevention and de-stigmatisation.

Links: www.positivewomen.org.nz        
http://condoms4all.org
             
http://condoms4all.org/worldwide/un-commission/
http://www.unaids.org/en/aboutunaids/unaidsstrategygoalsby2015/

For further comment please contact:

Jane Bruning, National Coordinator
Positive Women Inc
Phone: 09 623 9183; Email: coordinator@positivewomen.co.nz