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The female condom is a proven HIV and pregnancy prevention method. But in 2007, only 26 million female condoms were distributed worldwide – just one for every 100 women in Asia, Latin American and Africa between the ages of 15 and 49.
Myths, misconceptions and biases against the female condom have hindered international investment in and expanded access to this method, resulting in a high cost-per-unit price. To lower the price of the female condom, we need governments and donor agencies to make bulk purchases and to invest in the programs that can make this method more widely accessible.
Why we need Prevention Now!
What are the Facts?
Download Facts on Female Condoms (April 2009)
Female condoms are available now. This means that we can immediately begin increasing people’s choices, and reducing
the numbers of HIV infections, unintended pregnancies and related
adverse outcomes of unprotected sex right away.
Female condoms can be inserted independently and well in advance of intercourse by a woman seeking to protect herself from infection and unintended pregnancy. They can reduce the rate of HIV transmission among women having sex with an infected partner by more than 90 percent; are at least as effective in reducing other sexually transmitted infections as are male condoms; and can be used to avoid unintended pregnancy.
Female condoms have high rates of acceptability. Analysis of studies from 40 countries show that acceptability rates for female condoms range between 37 and 93 percent of potential users.
Studies show that access to female condoms increases the rate of use of both male and female condoms, increasing the rate of protected sex overall.
Recent cost analyses of the female condom show that increased access to female condoms can lead to dramatic savings in both lives and in health care costs in diverse country settings. [Read the Analysis here]
Education on partner communication and condom negotiation provided by female condom training programs increases the ability of women and men to discuss effective HIV prevention strategies and take steps to better protect themselves.
National governments, bilateral aid agencies, and international donors can drive down the price of the female condom and make it affordable by making bulk purchases of this method, as is traditionally done with virtually every reproductive and sexual health technology, including male condoms.
Women and men everywhere need more prevention options right now. The time has come to remove barriers that have denied women and men access to the female condom. The time has come to demand Prevention Now!