Illinois: "Sexpert" Lauds Benefits of Updated Female Condom
March 17, 2010
Last week, a coalition of organizations including Chicago Women's AIDS Project (CWAP) and AIDS Foundation of Chicago launched "Put a Ring On It," a campaign aimed at boosting awareness of the new female condom.
The Food and Drug Administration approved FC2, the second-generation female condom, in March 2009. FC2 uses a softer material than the original female condom, which came out 15 years ago, allowing it to feel more natural and cost less. Zoe Lehman, support services coordinator at CWAP and a self-described "sexpert," said a main reason the first female condom was not successful was that women did not know how to use it. FC2 has instructions on the package, unlike the old one, which had a large, unwieldy user guide packaged inside.
FC2 can be inserted up to 45 minutes before sex. It has a solid inner ring that sits around the cervix and anchors the condom behind the pubic bone, and an outer ring that "blossoms outside the vagina," Lehman said.
A key element of the campaign is peer-to-peer training. "One of the most exciting things about this campaign is that we, along with groups such as the Illinois Caucus on Adolescent Health, have spent the last two years training over a thousand people in the Chicago area who will train others on how to use it," said Lehman.
"We've been letting everyone know how easy [the female condom] is to use," said Lehman. "It's just as effective as the male condom, really pleasurable and empowers a woman because she doesn't have to request that the male partner wears the condom."
FC2 is not yet widely available in drug stores but can be picked up at Chicago Public Health Department clinics across the city. For more information, visit www.ringonit.org.