Female Condom to be Offered Free of Charge to South African Women
The female condom will be offered free of charge to South African women through a collaborative effort between several South African governmental agencies, companies and Planned Parenthood of South Africa, Health-e News reports. Planned Parenthood, the Reproductive Health Research Unit, the Society of Family Health and the South Africa Department of Health will supply the female condom. Mitchell Warren, vice president of the Female Health Company, which produces the female condom, said that South Africa receives three million of the eight million female condoms distributed around the world each year. The condom is made of polyurethane and is packaged and stored in an oil-based lubricant. Women who have tried the condom say the material "makes it feel more like a 'second skin'" than the latex male condom, and men have praised the female condom because it "does not feel tight," can be inserted before sex and does not require immediate withdrawal after ejaculation. Dr. Sunanda Ray, who has been involved in introducing the female condom in Zimbabwe, said that the condom is most popular with women over the age of 25, possibly because they are "better educated and more confident" than younger women. Although many women say that they enjoy how the female condom feels, the polyurethane material makes it much more expensive to produce than the male condom. Initial research from the RHRU indicates that the female condom can be washed and reused up to eight times before developing holes, although the World Health Organization is the only group with the authority to issue a definitive statement on the safety of reusing the condom (Cullinan, Health-e News, 12/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.