It's always on us, isn't it? Safe sex is most often the woman's worry because she's the one who can get pregnant. While in the U.S. we might nag our significant others to just put the damn condom on and deal with it, women in other countries aren't necessarily so outspoken. In this case, a female condom gives a woman power she may not have had before -- control of her sexual health.
The first female condom was introduced in 1993, and in some countries such as Brazil, Ghana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, it's the only available woman-initiated form of protection against STDs and unintended pregnancy. Yet, as the AP reports, despite global promotion by the United Nations and other organizations, its use is minimal and women still bear the brunt of the AIDS epidemic. To combat this issue, last month, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new version of the female condom called FC2, produced by the Chicago-based Female Health Co. Advocates hope that the FC2 will be more popular and widely distributed because it's made of synthetic rubber, which is cheaper to produce than its predecessor, polyurethane.
The challenge in the U.S., according to Susie Hoffman, an assistant professor of clinical epidemiology at Columbia University, is to overcome the bias against female condoms. Hoffman was quoted in the AP: "Some people involved in AIDS and family planning would say, 'Why do we need these? ... It's so weird that women are not going to pick it up." She believes that education is the key to acceptance -- "if presented in the right way, many women do like it."
What do you think of the female condom -- would you try it?