Female Condoms

Helpdesk Query:

As a dual protection method, is demand for and uptake of FC correlated to HIV prevalence?

A number of studies are available on the acceptability of various FC products, but there are knowledge gaps in terms of user profiles. From a review of the literature in high prevalence HIV contexts and concentrated epidemics, what do we know about usage of FC among different age groups, marital status, vulnerability?

What do we know about frequency, repeat or sustained use? (a critical success factor for scaling up)

How do men’s perspectives and choices influence use?

Do women who use FC do so in combination/mix with other methods? (Evidence seems to suggest FCs most successful in contexts where MC already successful)

Summary:

This report is divided into the following sections:

Who Uses the Female Condom? Typical users seem to vary in different countries and according to different studies. This section looks at different countries and identifies users and the reasons behind this.

Is FC use correlated to HIV prevalence? Study results differ on whether they may be used as a substitute for male condoms or if they result in averted cases of HIV/AIDS.

What do we know about frequency, repeat or sustained use? This section compares several studies on this issue.

How do men’s perspectives and choices influence use? Male perceptions of and willingness to use the product are key to successful use and are factors that help determine the level of acceptability and actual use of the female condom.

Is the FC used in combination/mix with other methods? It is not a question of whether the female condom is a better method than other family-planning method, but of how to give a woman options.

Recommendations

  • Education and demonstration of correct use
  • Negotiation skills training
  • Men should be educated
  • Target high-risk populations
  • In countries with high HIV prevalence, target couples of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Secure funding to subsidise female condoms so that they can be made available to high-risk populations.

 

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