France will offer free condoms for young people up to 25 years old at pharmacies beginning in January, President Emmanuel Macron recently announced.

“It’s a small revolution for prevention,” Macron said in a video posted on Twitter.

Initially, Macron had announced that the measure applied only to people aged 18 to 25 but activists and experts called him out, pointing out that minors also have sex — so underage people are also eligible to get free contraceptives.

The measure is a response to a surge in sexually transmitted diseases in the country. In 2021, France experienced a 30% increase in STI rates.

Macron also acknowledged challenges in increasing access to sexual education.

“We are not very good on this subject. The reality is very, very different from the theory,” he said.

The new policy will add to other measures focused on dealing with these problems already available in the country, including free emergency contraception for all women. People under 26 also have access to free STI screenings without a prescription, except for HIV.

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