Yes, a female condom

January 28, 2009 by Chicago Tribune

Sometime during the next six months, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will consider approving the FC2, a second-generation female condom. That appears likely, since an FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended the product in a Dec. 11 vote.

The female condom allows women to take the lead in protecting themselves from HIV infection. In short - they don't have to rely on their male partner to take the responsibility. This has the potential to be a lifesaver.

A 2005 study by Dr. David Holtgrave found that distributing 16.6 million female condoms in South Africa could prevent 10,000 HIV infections. Holtgrave, chairman of the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that female condoms also would save up to $35.7 million in health care costs in South Africa.

The FC2 could save lives here, too - especially in the African-American community. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2005 HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, "The rate of AIDS diagnoses for black women was nearly 23 times the rate for white women." High-risk sexual contact was responsible for 74 percent of those infections.

Despite those terrifying numbers, many women are reluctant to push their partners to wear condoms, for fear of driving them away. Wider availability and affordability of the FC2 could allow women to protect themselves without having to negotiate with their partners. Like a traditional male condom, it would protect men and women from HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The FC2 would be roughly 30 percent cheaper than its first generation predecessor, which sells for $1.15 to $2.75 in the U.S. and about 80 cents in other parts of the world. But that might still be a barrier, because male condoms are significantly less expensive. According to a 2007 report by the United Nations Population Fund, the female condom "has not yet achieved its full potential due to inadequate promotional activities, insufficient supply and comparatively higher cost than male condoms."

International aid agencies pay about 3 cents each for male condoms. So it's no surprise that in 2007 donors provided 3.1 billion male condoms around the world but only 16.5 million female condoms.

But as with all products, female condoms should see a rise in demand as the price drops. So the FC2 will be a benefit to public health here and abroad.

It can save lives.

___

(c) 2009, Chicago Tribune.
Visit the Chicago Tribune on the Internet at www.chicagotribune.com/
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Male birth control gel to go into trials

Related Stories

Male birth control gel to go into trials

December 22, 2017
A team at the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has announced that it will be putting a contraception gel it has developed into trials starting this April. The trials will involve more than 400 couples ...

Combination HIV prevention reduces new infections by 42 percent in Ugandan district

November 29, 2017
A study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine provides real-world evidence that implementing a combination of proven HIV prevention measures across communities can substantially reduce new HIV infections ...

New estimates of modern contraceptive use in the world's poorest countries

December 5, 2017
Statisticians Leontine Alkema, Niamh Cahill and Chuchu Wei at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with others, today released new estimates and projections of modern contraceptive prevalence (mCPR) and other family planning ...

Sex education doesn't reflect real-life realities of lesbian and bisexual girls

January 10, 2018
Most lesbian and bisexual girls don't know they can get sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from other girls, because sex education is mostly designed for their straight peers. This knowledge gap could be placing them ...

Men's experiences of unwanted sexual advances and sexual assaults

January 3, 2018
Time Magazine recently featured "The Silence Breakers" as its 2017 "Person of the Year," a nod to the countless women who have come forward with stories of unwanted sexual advances and sexual assaults.

Communication about female condom vital to young adults, researchers say

July 21, 2014
The female condom is one of just two barrier methods that can protect against sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies, yet many young adults are not aware of the device, a new study by two UT Arlington researchers ...

Recommended for you

The good and bad health news about your exercise posts on social media

February 22, 2018
We all have that Facebook friend—or 10—who regularly posts photos of his or her fitness pursuits: on the elliptical at the gym, hiking through the wilderness, crossing a 10K finish line.

Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all

February 21, 2018
Is the next generation better or worse off because of smartphones? The answer is complex and research shows it largely depends on their lives offline.

Tackling health problems in the young is crucial for their children's future

February 21, 2018
A child's growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy - even going back to adolescence - according to a new study by researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, ...

Lead and other toxic metals found in e-cigarette 'vapors': study

February 21, 2018
Significant amounts of toxic metals, including lead, leak from some e-cigarette heating coils and are present in the aerosols inhaled by users, according to a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public ...

Why teens need up to 10 hours' sleep

February 21, 2018
Technology, other distractions and staying up late make is difficult, but researchers say teenagers need to make time for 8-10 hours of sleep a night to optimise their performance and maintain good health and wellbeing.

Electronic health records don't reduce administrative costs

February 21, 2018
The federal government thought that adopting certified electronic health record systems (EHR) would reduce administrative costs for physicians in a variety of specialties. However, a major new study conducted by researchers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.