1. Interventions that combine education, condom promotion and early detection and treatment of STD have been shown to reduce STD and HIV transmission.
2. The quality of STD care is critically important and encompasses not only appropriate clinical management, but also confidential, respectful, non-stigmatizing treatment, counselling, partner referral and community education.
3. STD services that are integrated into primary health care, maternal and child health, family planning and community services and are based on comprehensive management in one visit at the first point of contact with the health system are likely to be more accessible, reassuring and non-stigmatizing for women.
4. Condom promotion and distribution, particularly for women, is limited in many countries. Condom social marketing (in which condoms are sold, usually at subsidized prices, through the private and informal sectors) and community-based condom distribution (in which condoms are distributed by community workers) increase condom availability, demand and utilization.
5. Condoms should be promoted and distributed through as many public and private channels as possible in order to ensure their availability to as large a proportion of the total population, including women, as possible. In addition, it is important to ensure that condoms reach, and are used by, those most vulnerable to STD and HIV infection. Reducing epidemiological vulnerability to STD and HIV should take priority over cost recovery, as some STD/HIV-vulnerable individuals and communities cannot afford to pay for condoms.
6. Both condom social marketing and community-based condom distribution can be specifically designed and tailored to serve women more effectively. They should both be informed by an understanding of the values, beliefs, social organization and economic patterns of women in society and should be integrated within the daily economic and social activities of women.
7. Women’s organizations have a valuable role to play in educating women about condoms and enabling them to negotiate and maintain condom use and should receive adequate resources and support to operate effectively.
8. The success of both condom social marketing and community-based condom distribution depends on several factors, including audience participation in message design and development, careful training of distributors, frequent mass media reinforcement and careful audience segmentation.
9. Condoms should be promoted not simply as a means of preventing STD, but as part of a confident, self-assured and positive lifestyle. In particular, condoms should never be promoted in ways that stigmatize women.