Chicago AIDS Advocates Launch Female Condom Campaign

Female Health Company Supports Coalition of 20 Chicago Non-Profits To Raise Awareness and Expand Access and Affordability

CHICAGO, March 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Female Health Company (FHC) (Nasdaq: FHCO) is supporting the launch of a social marketing campaign in Chicago that will educate women about HIV/AIDS and boost awareness, availability, and access to the FC2 Female Condom®, the only FDA approved woman-initiated HIV prevention method currently available.

The Chicago Female Condom Campaign includes a coalition of nearly 20 HIV/AIDS, reproductive justice, and women's and men's health organizations that will work together to mobilize outreach to women and men living at risk of HIV in Chicago. The campaign's launch is timed to coincide with National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10.

"We're excited to launch this grassroots campaign informing Chicagoans about this highly effective safer sex tool. Women and men in Chicago and across the nation need access to a full range of HIV and pregnancy prevention tools, including female condoms. By equipping service providers with the skills and knowledge to effectively promote female condoms among their communities, we hope to help more Chicagoans stay safe and healthy," said Jessica Terlikowski, policy manager with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. "This week more than fifteen organizations throughout the city will kick off the Campaign with a bang by educating more than 1,000 Chicagoans about how to use female condoms."

The campaign is conducting a multifaceted communications and marketing effort to promote the female condom as both an acceptable and affordable HIV prevention option for women and men. With funding and technical support provided by FHC and other partners, it is sponsoring in-person trainings to equip Chicago-area service organizations with the skills to promote female condoms, including knowledge of correct use and strategies for negotiating female condom use with partners.  Many of these community-based partners serve African American and Latino women, who are disproportionately impacted by the city's HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In addition, the campaign is using a mixture of social media channels to spread awareness.  It is launching a female condom website -- www.ringonit.org -- a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account (twitter.com/ChiFemaleCondom), and it has produced branded palm cards, a brochure, and a tip sheet for service providers on how to talk with clients about female condoms.  

The campaign is also working with FHC and agencies across Chicago to distribute free FC2 Female Condoms and create a bulk purchasing program for public health clinics, health care providers, family planning centers, and other local organizations.  Through large-volume purchases, the program is providing FC2 Female Condoms at a discounted cost, an incentive that it hopes will expand the product's usage.

"Since Chicago is FHC's hometown, we're thrilled to see  the city's AIDS advocates take the lead in introducing innovative ways to raise awareness and ensure both on-going access and affordability," said Mary Ann Leeper, Ph.D., FHC's senior strategic adviser. "Based on more than a decade of global experience, we know that when women and men have access to the female condom and education on its use, it becomes a product they demand.  The Chicago Female Condom Campaign is creating a strong grassroots model to expand access and use across the United States."

Over the past two decades, the proportion of women among people living with HIV infection has tripled, from 8 percent in 1985 to 26 percent in 2006. According to the CDC, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for African American women aged 25-34, and African American women accounted for 61% of HIV infections among American women in 2006.  Latino women are also disproportionately impacted by HIV infection and are four times more likely than white women to become infected.

"Around the world and in the United States, HIV is becoming a women's pandemic, so we must do everything possible to expand women's access to HIV prevention that they can initiate and negotiate with their partners," said Dr. Leeper. "That was FHC's goal when it developed a more affordable female condom, and that's why FHC's working with AIDS advocates in major cities across the United States to expand access."

About The Female Health Company

The Female Health Company, based in Chicago, Illinois, manufactures and markets the FC2 Female Condom® (FC2), which is distributed primarily by public health organizations and donor groups in about 100 countries around the world. The Company owns certain worldwide rights to the FC2 Female Condom®, including patents that have been issued in Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Japan and are pending in various other countries.   FC2 Female Condom® is the only available FDA-approved product controlled by a woman that offers dual protection against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and unintended pregnancy. The World Health Organization (WHO) has cleared FC2 for purchase by U.N. agencies.

For more information about the Female Health Company visit the Company's website at http://www.femalehealth.com and http://www.fc2femalecondom.com. If you would like to be added to the Company's e-mail alert list, please send an e-mail to FHCInvestor@femalehealthcompany.com .

"Safe Harbor" statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Action of 1995: The statements in this release which are not historical facts are forward-looking statements based upon the Company's current plans and strategies, and reflect the Company's current assessment of the risks and uncertainties related to its business, including such things as product demand and market acceptance; the economic and business environment and the impact of government pressures; currency risks; capacity; efficiency and supply constraints; and other risks detailed in the Company's press releases, shareholder communications and Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Actual events affecting the Company and the impact of such events on the Company's operations may vary from those currently anticipated.

SOURCE Female Health Company



RELATED LINKS
http://www.ringonit.org
http://www.femalehealth.com
http://www.fc2femalecondom.com

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