Female Condom Use Gains Ground In India
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of you may be unaware that India holds the record for having the biggest
number of HIV-AIDS cases in the whole world. According to the United
Nations AIDS (UNAIDS) organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, India
has 5.7 million cases with some reports estimating the number could
go up to 20 million by 2010. The National AIDS Control Organization
(NACO) of India disclosed that 86 percent of the country’s HIV
cases were caused by sexual transmission with 30 percent of the total
cases involving prostitutes.
But there’s good news now as steps are being taken to find
solutions to this grim scenario. One of them is the introduction and
widespread promotion of the use of
condoms. This has somehow given Indian women the freedom to take
control of their reproductive health and not depend only on men in
using condom during their sexual encounters. With the female
condom, the women are given their own options to prevent
pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
It has been a known fact that condoms are very effective contraceptives and
protection against STDs. The male and the female condoms look very similar and
work the same way only that the female condom can be initiated by the woman
herself before engaging in sexual intercourse. A female condom is a thin, flexible
and loose-fitting plastic tube worn inside the vagina. At the closed end of the tube
is a soft ring that covers the cervix during intercourse. With that in place,
a man’s semen and other bodily fluids is prevented from getting in contact with
a woman’s own bodily fluids.
In India, the female condom was first introduced in 2001
and since then, many women there have recognized its benefits.
But while it is still far from reaching the male condom market which
sells an estimated two billion condoms each year, the reception among
Indian women is gaining ground.
The launching of female condoms there was targeted at fighting HIV/AIDS,
a serious health problem among India’s sexual workers. After the initial
promotion, Indian voluntary organizations involved reported an 80 to 90 percent
effectiveness of the female condom.
Currently, there are two types of female condom that are available
worldwide – the FC and FC2. The FC female condom is made from
polyurethane and is about 6.5
inches long. Inside is a silicone-based lubricant but additional lubrication
can be used if needed. The FC2 product was introduced in 2005 and
has the same design as the original female condom. The only difference
is that FC2 is made of nitrile making it cheaper to produce.
A great benefit of these female condoms is that they can be inserted
even up to eight hours before a sexual intercourse. Also,
with the materials used, there is no likelihood of an allergic reaction
compared to latex. The female condoms can be used with both oil-based
and water-based lubricants. Additionally, they require no special
storage as both polyurethane and nitrile are not affected by temperature
change and dampness.
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