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Advocates hope new female condom will help fight STDs

A new model of female condom that is less expensive and more user-friendly is being promoted by advocates who hope it will vastly expand its role in the global fight against AIDS and other sexually transmitting diseases.

An early version of the female condom was introduced in 1993, and it remains the only available woman-initiated form of protection against boths STDs and unintended pregnancy, the Minnesota Daily reported.

The new model produced by the Chicago-based Female Health Co., called the FC2, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last month.

About 35 million female condoms were distributed worldwide last year, far less than the 10 billion male condoms that were distributed, which are far cheaper and initially easier to use.

However, in some nations with high HIV rates, many men refuse to wear condoms.

The FC2 is made from synthetic rubber rather than polyurethane, like its predecessor, and costs one-third less.

The FC2 also is less noisy during use, Mary Ann Leeper, the strategic advisor of Female Health Co., said. She said that complaints of squeaky noises were among the factors that slowed acceptance of the original version.

Female condoms require careful instruction to be used properly, and advocates are providing training programs to teach women about the device.

Bidia Deperthes, the U.N. Population Fund's HIV technical advisor for condoms, said that even though the mindset is changing, but accessibility os still minimal. The demand is growing, but the Population Fund is unable to meet it.


MNDaily -http://www.mndaily.com/content/health-advocates-tout-new-model-female-condom