[16days_discussion] Fwd: Urgent Action Needed: International Sign-On Letter to Support Female Condoms at U.S. FDA Review

16 Days Campaign 16days at cwgl.rutgers.edu
Thu Dec 4 14:49:37 EST 2008

> Subject: 	Urgent Action Needed: International Sign-On Letter to 
> Support Female Condoms at U.S. FDA Review
> Date: 	Thu, 4 Dec 2008 13:49:36 -0500 (EST)
> From: 	Kimberly Whipkey <change at genderhealth.org>
> Reply-To: 	change at genderhealth.org
> Next week, on December 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 
> advisory committee on Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices will decide 
> whether to recommend approval of the FC2, the second generation of the 
> Female Health Company's female condom.  As you know, female condoms 
> <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=D0MX2zikwKlEZlNRIBcp%2FnTjOAypeECq> 
> are the only existing HIV prevention method designed for women's 
> initiation and are effective in preventing HIV and other sexually 
> transmitted infections, as well as unwanted pregnancy.   
> The World Health Organization and the United Nations Population Fund 
> have already approved the FC2 for distribution by HIV/AIDS and family 
> planning organizations. The regulatory agency's approval has important 
> implications for women in the U.S. and around the world, such as 
> contributing toward lowering the cost of female condoms and increasing 
> the ability of HIV-positive women to protect themselves and their 
> partners and lead safe and satisfying sexual lives.  FC2 approval 
> would enable USAID to purchase and distribute greater numbers of these 
> lower-cost female condoms, helping more women take prevention into 
> their own hands.  The U.S. FDA review provides a critical opportunity 
> to raise the voices of civil society in support of female condoms and 
> the urgent need for effective HIV prevention for women globally.    
> On behalf of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago 
> <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=g3TWfi7MAOiDvmojyXA0wXTjOAypeECq> 
> and the National Women's Health Network 
> <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=5MKN%2F8LoAtF4P9YvVUjQIHTjOAypeECq>, 
> CHANGE is circulating an organizational sign-on letter urging the FDA 
> to consider the importance of female condoms when deliberating over 
> the approval of the FC2.  This letter is open to organizations in the 
> U.S. and around the world.  We hope that you will consider adding your 
> organization as an endorser.
> *Please email Jessica Terlikowski at **jterlikowski at aidschicago.org 
> <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=R3eBCt9NBxQn8iE%2Bdme2GHTjOAypeECq>no 
> later than 5:00pm Central Daylight Time on Wednesday, December 10 to 
> endorse the letter.*
> The letter is pasted below and is also available by clicking here 
> <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=tgMyxMPtIIbhCWBWP%2F1WeXTjOAypeECq>.  
> Thank you for your consideration and support on this critical issue.
> For more information about female condoms and advocacy efforts to 
> increase investment in this prevention method, visit 
> www.preventionnow.net. 
> <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=X9jym3dvrAo6fBXOO17PEnTjOAypeECq>
> In solidarity,
> Kim Whipkey
> Advocacy and Outreach Associate
> Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
> December 11, 2008
> Dear Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices Advisory Committee Members,
> We, the undersigned organizations committed to women's sexual and 
> reproductive health and human rights, strongly urge you to consider 
> the importance of female condoms while you deliberate over FDA 
> pre-market approval of the FC2--the second generation of the Female 
> Health Company's female condom--that enables a woman to initiate 
> protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections 
> (STIs), as well as unintended pregnancy.
> HIV/AIDS is rapidly becoming a women and girls' pandemic. According to 
> UNAIDS, women comprised half of the 33.2 million people living with 
> HIV/AIDS in 2007. The realities of many women's lives, coupled with a 
> lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information and 
> services including HIV prevention tools, make it difficult for women 
> to take the steps necessary to protect themselves against STIs and HIV 
> infection and unintended pregnancy. Poverty, intimate partner 
> violence, restrictive gender and cultural norms, and limited access to 
> education are just a few of the factors that contribute toward 
> increasing a woman's risk of HIV.  
> The feminization of HIV and AIDS requires a woman-centered response 
> and access to a range of safe, effective, and affordable prevention 
> methods for women-including female condoms and effective education on 
> their use-can play a strong role in stemming the number of new HIV 
> infections.  Women need tools like the female condom to stay healthy, 
> plan pregnancy, and protect their partners from HIV. According to the 
> Center for Health and Gender Equity's report /Saving Lives Now: Female 
> Condoms and the Role of U.S. Foreign Aid/, several studies have 
> demonstrated that effective promotion and programming of the female 
> condom increase the total number of protected sex acts, thus reducing 
> a couple's risk of infection of HIV and STIs.
> Despite the urgent need for woman-controlled HIV prevention methods, 
> domestic and international HIV/AIDS organizations face many challenges 
> in providing the female condom to women and communities in greatest 
> need, including a lack of political will and donor investment, as well 
> as the relatively high cost of the product.  The FC2 female condom can 
> play a major role in increasing distribution and facilitating uptake 
> of the female condom in the U.S. and internationally because it is 
> composed of a less costly material than the first generation Female 
> Health Company female condom (FC1).  Coupled with sustainable 
> procurement and distribution and effective programming, the FC2 has 
> great promise for getting into the hands of women worldwide and 
> ultimately saving lives.   
> Though researchers are tirelessly working to develop a broad spectrum 
> of new prevention technologies including microbicides, vaccines, and 
> pre-exposure prophylaxis, such products will not be available for many 
> years. Female condoms are tools women can use right now--today--to 
> protect themselves against HIV and other STIs. With the HIV/AIDS 
> crisis continuing across the globe, the need to step up prevention 
> efforts is ever more critical. The approval of a safe and effective 
> female condom that can be made available to more women is an important 
> step in putting the power of prevention into women's hands.
> Sincerely,
> (/List in formation/)
> AIDS Foundation of Chicago
> Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
> National Women's Health Network

The CWGL Staff
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign
Center for Women's Global Leadership
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
160 Ryders Lane
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8555
Tel: 1-732-932-8782
Fax: 1-732-932-1180
Email: 16days at cwgl.rutgers.edu
Website: http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu 

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