Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Future of the Female Condoms in Nigeria

Female Condoms in Nigeria

Meyiwa Ede, from the Society of Family Health in Nigeria, says that while men are often excited by the prospect of sex without having to wear a regular condom, women are disinterested by their first glimpse of the female condom (FC1) device.

"They look at it and say 'OK - are you saying I have to put that in myself?'" she says.

In Nigeria and other African countries, the free availability of female condoms at clinics has led to an unexpected fashion trend. The women have become creative with the device. They have taken to removing the flexible ring from the device and using it as a bangle. 

"If you are [romantically] available you have a new bangle on," says Marion Stevens from the female health campaigning body Wish Associates.

 "If you are in a long-term relationship your bangle is old and faded."

The newer Female condoms, the FC2 is 17cm (6.5ins) long - the ring is flexible for easy insertion. They are to be used to protect women from sexually transmitted infections as well as unintended pregnancy.

Female condoms have other advantages too. They can be inserted hours before sex, meaning that there is no distraction at the crucial moment, and they don't need to be removed immediately afterwards. For women, there is better protection from sexually transmitted infections, since the vulva is partially covered by an outer ring that keeps the device in place.

The FC1's successor, the FC2 - made of non-rustling synthetic latex - is far more successful than many in the West realise. It is available in 138 countries, sales have more than doubled since 2007, and the Female Health Company has been turning a profit for eight years.

The vast majority of sales are to four customers - the US aid agency (USAID), the UN and the ministries of health in Brazil and South Africa.


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