Access to Female Condoms Limited, Expensive in Many Countries, Delegates Say Ahead of Women’s HIV Conference
Many women worldwide cannot access female condoms to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections because they either are unavailable or too expensive, according to delegates who participated in a workshop held ahead of the World Young Women's Christian Association's International Women's Summit on HIV and AIDS in Nairobi, Kenya, the Nation/AllAfrica.com reports. According to some delegates at the conference, which began on July 4, myths and stigma associated with female condoms also have contributed to their low use.
Statistics provided by Robbie Nelson -- director of programs and sales for the Female Health Company, which manufactures female condoms -- indicate that Brazil and Zimbabwe are the leading buyers of female condoms. Kenya this year has bought 203,404 female condoms through the United Nations Population Fund, according to the statistics. Maya Gokul, the workshop's facilitator, said many women want to use female condoms but cannot access them.
Rowena Ngubeni of YWCA-South Africa said that female condoms are not as readily available as male condoms. Ahiodun Chris Oyeyipo, assistant representative of UNFPA-Nigeria, said that because men might not always be willing to use condoms, female condoms are important given that family planning methods are aimed primarily at preventing pregnancies. Oyeyipo added that correct and consistent use of female condoms could reduce women's risk of HIV infection by more than 90% (Nation/AllAfrica.com, 7/2).
Kaisernetwork.org webcasts of the conference soon will be available online.