I recently came across a study conducted by Guttmacher Institute on how female condoms have allowed women to gain a new sense of independence. This newer form of contraception hasn’t gotten much attention, and the potential benefits have been slightly ignored. Compared to other female contraceptives like the birth control pill or diaphragm, it is the only one that helps prevent the transmission of STDs and HIV as well as pregnancy.
Female condoms give women the chance to protect themselves without relying on their partner’s compliance. The Guttmacher Institute research focused on sex workers in Central America and their experiences with the female condom.
If there are clients who don’t want to use the male condom, now we can protect ourselves with the female condom…Most women in the two El Salvador sites reported that they were very worried about contracting HIV, but thought it was completely within their control to protect themselves from infection.
The problem with the female condom is that it is not yet as widely available as the male condom. Another issue is the possible stigma associated with the female condom because of its size and how comfortable it is. It will take some time and more research to see the full potential of the female condom, as it becomes better known and more widely available.
More information about the female condom and how to use it is here.
By Stephanie Rodriguez, Policy Intern