201523 Introducing a new female condom: Another chance to put HIV prevention tools in women's hands

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 3:10 PM

Cynthia A. Pearson , National Women's Health Network, Washington, DC
Fifteen years after it was first introduced, the female condom has been distributed in more than 100 countries but the level of use in most places is low. Female condoms are the first and only proven HIV/STI prevention tool that women can use; this means women with partners who won't use male condoms may be able to protect their health by using female condoms. Many women and men who have tried the method like it, but there are still obstacles to use. The cost of female condoms has been high compared to male condoms and even when it has been subsidized, product supplies have been inconsistent. The method is most popular in countries where its introduction included a counseling and support program to help women learn how to use it successfully, and where there were efforts to market to men as well as women. In the United States, the female condom has failed to establish a significant market. The company that manufactures the first and only female condom to be approved for sale in the United States is now introducing a new model that is less expensive to make and can be sold at a lower price. The introduction of the new female condom offers another chance to put HIV prevention tools in women's hands. U.S. health advocates must learn from successful female condom programs in other countries and seize this opportunity to empower women and communities with information, tools and skills that can protect against HIV and other STIs.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the benefits and advantages offered by female condoms. Discuss the reasons why female condoms are not widely used. Articulate the opportunities for empowering women to protect themselves against HIV/STIs that are presented by the introduction of a new model of female condom.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working as a women's health advocate on issues relating to the female condom for more than a decade. I have particular expertise in the FDA approval process for women's health products.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.