In San Francisco, there's always more to Valentine's Day than just flowers and chocolates. Female condoms were handed out Monday at City Hall courtesy of the health department. It's the same design as the original version but made of Nitrile.
"That's the material found commonly in surgical gloves. It's the non-latex alternative for those people who have latex allergies," said Susan Philip, M.D., from the San Francisco Health Department.
People on the street were somewhat interested. Others, not so much. Young and not so young said they would give it a try.
The female condoms, called FC2, are meant to avoid unintended pregnancies. But San Francisco made headlines on Monday because the condoms are also meant for gay men. FC2 has been approved by the FDA for use by women, not gay men. But according to the San Francisco Health Department gay men are the ones asking for its approval and distribution. Some say it could be a better option for them as they try to prevent HIV in the gay community.
In fact, posters will appear this week on Muni buses and street cars.
Raymond Dennehy, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at USF. He says the Catholic Church opposes condoms for women and now in this case men.
"The Catholic church is teaching it's the very notion of homosexual activity that's a frustration of the goal of sex," said Dennehy.
And the point of sex, he says, is to procreate. The bus carrying the new female condoms headed to San Francisco State where students seemed more receptive to the idea.
"It's something new. I like experiencing, seeing new things. You know," said SF State student Judy Tran.
The Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence helped distribute the condoms on Monday.
"We have a product now that allows people to get a little closer together, express their love and then also be safe," said Sister Sharin' Dipiti from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Where else, but in San Francisco?