Female Condoms: Dual Protection

The female condom is currently the only available dual protection tool that prevents both HIV/STIs and unintended pregnancy, and is designed for women to initiate. It is available now. It is effective--evidence suggests that when promoted and programmed alongside male condoms, female condoms increase the total number of protected sex acts because they are sometimes used in instances that would not otherwise be protected by male condoms. It is also acceptable--qualitative studies have also shown that women view the female condom as a means for enhancing their ability to negotiate conditions for safer sex within the relationship. 

Female condoms are particularly vital to the health and well-being of women living with HIV. When used consistently and correctly, they reduce a woman's risk of re-infection with differing strains of HIV, STI infection, and transmitting HIV or other STIs to their partners. It also allows them to plan their pregnancies, a critical factor considering that women living with HIV have an increased risk of maternal death.

Among donors, the U.S. government is a leader in supporting female condoms. Despite this leadership, female condoms represented just 3.2 percent of total U.S. condom shipments in 2009. While we recognize and applaud the increased attention from the U.S. government to female condom procurement and programming, more efforts are needed to make female condoms truly available, accessible, and affordable for individuals who would benefit greatly from their use. 

To that end, CHANGE has developed a series of policy and program recommendations for the U.S. government based on a literature review and original research, includings that the U.S. government only fund integrated, comprehensive, and evidence-based HIV prevention programming that explicitly refers to female and male condom programming, as opposed to "condoms." For further recommendations, see CHANGE's 2011 report, Female Condoms and U.S. Foreign Assistance: An Unfinished Imperative for Women's Health.

Additional Resources:

FC2 Female Condom Masterclass Episodes: A nine episode series that ranges from sexual and reproductive health and rights to the FC2 female condom and pleasure.

For Lovers who Choose to Care: Launching the female condom in Zambia. PowerPoint presented by Chilufya Mwaba-Phiri, Zambia Health Education and Communications Trust, during a June 2011 Congressional briefing.

Female condoms and women living with HIV: Preventing reinfection, the infection of partners, and promoting independence. PowerPoint presented by Annah Sango, International Community of Women Living With HIV--Global, during a June 2011 Congressional briefing.

10 Reasons To Get Down With Female Condoms: A BuzzFeed "listicle" outlining many of the benefits of female condoms created by CHANGE for International Condom Day and Valentines Day in 2014.