France is to fully reimburse condoms, if prescribed by a doctor, to combat the spread of AIDS and HIV, the country's minister of health announced on Tuesday.
From December 10, France's social security system will reimburse boxes of condoms bought at pharmacies if they have been prescribed by a doctor or a midwife — effectively rendering condoms free.
Minister of Health Agnes Buzyn hailed the measure as a "new step for the prevention [of HIV] and protection" of French people.
"Nowadays, we discover some 6,000 new (HIV-positive) cases every year, especially among young people — between 800 and 1,000 new cases among those under 25 — who often use condoms for their first sexual experience but not the following ones," Buzyn told France Inter radio station.
The announcement, which comes just days before World AIDS Day on December 1, will "strengthen the fight against sexually-transmitted diseases," the ministry said in a statement.
Only one brand of condom will be reimbursed, which has not been disclosed.