London’s Guardian Examines Popularity, Usefulness of Female Condom in Developing World
London's Guardian on Tuesday examined the popularity and usefulness of the female condom in the developing world, where women use it to protect themselves from becoming pregnant or from contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, when they cannot negotiate male condom use with their partners. In the late 1990s, following a lack of success with the product in the United Kingdom and other developed nations, the U.S. firm Female Health Company -- which manufactures and markets the female condom -- partnered with the World Health Organization to sell the contraceptive at a discounted rate to education programs in more than 80 developing countries, usually those highly affected by HIV/AIDS. Women in these countries have found creative ways to make use of the female condom more acceptable. In Sri Lanka, commercial sex workers presented the female condom as a sex toy to clients, who enjoyed the stimulation caused by the condom's plastic inner ring. In Senegal, the noise produced by the polyurethane condom during sex is now associated with the noise from "bine bine" beads, an erotic accessory women wear around their hips. Senegalese women also say the large size of the condom reflects their partner's penis. Some women in India have reported experiencing orgasms from inserting the condom themselves. FHC hopes to increase the number of female condoms sold annually in the developing world from about 10 million to 200 million. FHC also wants to increase sales of the female condom in other areas of the world and is looking for a commercial partner to help fund the expansion (Burt, Guardian, 8/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.