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Female Condoms - 07/11/2008

Use Of Female Condoms Gains Momentum

It’s good to know that women can now initiate safe sex through the use of the female condom and not just rely on their partner’s use of the rubber contraceptive. Many women in African countries are more than glad to know about this latest method and it’s important to note that the use of female condoms is now being widely promoted there.

A good example is Nigeria where a non-government organization assisting HIV-positive people in the southern part of the country conducts regular seminars that aim to teach women the proper way to use the female condom. It is estimated that some 2.9 million Nigerians are positive for HIV and almost four percent of the country’s population between the ages of 15 and 49 are infected with the virus.

Admirable NGO

The Living Hope Care NGO is now taking the necessary steps to widely promote the female condom in a bid to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS. This organization was actually founded in 1994 by a former Nigerian nurse identified as Fakande Ibiyemi. She formed the organization after an experience that struck her. In the hospital where she worked, a man was brought in after trying to hang himself following his discovery of having contracted HIV. Today, the Living Hope Care provides assistance, job training, micro-credit, free meals and treatment for more than 2,000 HIV-positive people. It is closely working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) by providing condoms to target people in an effort to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Method of use

The female condom looks very similar to the male condom and follows the same principle. The big difference is that this is inserted into the vagina instead of the man’s penis. Its main aim is to serve as a barrier to bodily fluids that may cause the transmission of HIV.

In Nigeria, two types of female condoms are available – the FC1 made from polyurethane plastic and FC2 made of synthetic latex. The two are soft, thin, odorless and durable, according to an UNFPA adviser. They have less likelihood of bursting or leaking and can be used with water- or oil-based lubricants.

Of course, the major advantage of this product is that the females can have total control of their sexual health and not have to wait for their partners to initiate using a condom. It can even be inserted up to a maximum of eight hours before intercourse.

More awareness needed

The UNFPA believes it is high time that the use of female condoms be pushed. This is the reason why it is bent on pursuing its seminars, community outreach programs and advertising jingles on the radio to increase awareness of this product. A 2005 survey conducted by this UN agency found a very low awareness and understanding of the female condom.

In Nigeria, more female condoms have been distributed since 2003. From 25,000 in 2003, some 375,000 pieces were distributed in the entire country by the end of 2006. Of the total number, eight percent were distributed by NGOs.

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