It Works, but Female Condom Neglected in Anti-AIDS Battle
August 6, 2010
"The public still knows very little about" the female condom, despite its "incredibly high rate of acceptability" among both men and women, Oxfam's Jim Clarken said at the recent 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna. The CEO of Oxfam Ireland joined other AIDS campaigners in calling for efforts to raise the profile of female condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Worldwide in 2008, 2.4 billion male condoms were distributed, compared with 18.2 million female condoms, said Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity in Washington, D.C. "A female condom is 50 cents, compared to a male condom, which is for one cent," said Carol Nawina Nyirenda of the Zambia-based CITAM+ (Community Initiative for Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria).
"The female condom has been available for 15 years and for 15 years it has been joked about," said Lucie van Mens, coordinator of the group Universal Access to Female Condoms. And, while there are numerous variations of male condom styles sold in shops, "There is only one model available" for female condoms.
Central to female condom promotion should be control, said Clarken. "It's also a key component to facilitate women having control over their own reproductive health," he said.
Female condoms are better received when presented as a means of contraception or even a sex toy rather than a way of protecting oneself from HIV infection, van Mens noted. "It's also important to give women the right to have fun with sex," she noted.
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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