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France to make condoms free for those 25 and younger amid rise of STDs


France will offer free condoms in pharmacies to anyone under the age of 25 in the new year, President Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday.

The move comes as the government says sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise among young people and because of unusual inflation this year is cutting especially deeply into the budgets of the country’s poorest residents. France.

Girls and women aged 25 and under have been able to get free contraception in France as part of a government effort to ensure that young people of all incomes can avoid unwanted pregnancies .

However, current measures do not apply to men or specifically address access for transgender or nonbinary people.

Macron said on Thursday that condoms would be made available free of charge in pharmacies to anyone between the ages of 18 and 25 starting January 1.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during the summit in Alicante, Spain, on Friday. (JM Fernandez/Press Association)

But after a French TV presenter and others challenged him on social media on Friday over why the condom measure doesn’t cover minors, the president agreed to expand program.

“Let’s do it,” Macron said in a selfie video he shot from the sidelines of a summit in Spain. He later tweeted: “A lot of minors have sex too… they need to protect themselves too.”

Macron, France’s youngest president when he was first elected in 2017 at the age of 39, also promised to step up efforts to prevent and test for HIV and other sexually transmitted viruses.

France’s state healthcare system covers some but not all of the costs of contraception, and doctor appointments for low-income patients often involve long waits. Abortion in France is free for everyone.

Several other European countries offer free or subsidized contraception.

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