KAMPALA, 22 December 2009 (PlusNews) - Ten months after being
re-launched, a new brand of female condom has proven popular
among a test group of Ugandan women, according to a study.
FC2 was launched in February; the government stopped distributing
the original female condom, FC1, in 2007 on the grounds that
women had complained it was smelly and noisy during sex.
"The new condom has improved features and will enable women to
have a procedure within their control to give them more choices
for prevention [of HIV and unwanted pregnancies]," said Vashta
Kibirige, the coordinator of the condom unit at the Ministry of
"The women [surveyed] say they like this version of the condom
better and they are ready to use it," said Janeva Busingye,
coordinator of the Most at Risk Populations Initiative project,
which carried out the study in the capital, Kampala.
The UN Population Fund and the NGO, Programme for Accessible
health Communication and Education, are spearheading the
re-launch of the female condom, which is still in the
sensitisation stage and will become available to the public in
The women questioned said the new condom was less noisy, more
comfortable and well lubricated, increasing their sexual
pleasure. It also has no smell and can be inserted in the vagina
at least eight hours before sex, which the women liked a lot.
The Health Ministry and its partners have so far trained women in
Kampala to teach other women the benefits of the female condom.
According to Kibirige, they hoped the condom would become more
popular in other regions after a situation analysis in 2008
revealed that cultural barriers and lack of proper education had
prevented their use in some parts of the country.
According to an official at the sexually transmitted diseases
clinic at Mulago Hospital, Uganda's largest referral facility,
men who have sex with men (MSM) would also be taught about the
female condom. Uganda has no official policy for prevention of
HIV among MSM, and outlaws homosexual sex.
"We shall promote it among MSM because when we were sensitising
people they expressed a need for them; they use for them for anal
sex after removing the ring," the official said.
At each end of the female condom is a flexible ring; at the
closed end of the sheath, the flexible ring is inserted into the
vagina or anus to hold the condom in place - this ring is
sometimes removed during anal sex to reduce the possibility of
A 2003 study of the acceptability and safety of a brand of female
condom for anal sex between men found incidents of condom
breakage, semen spillage and rectal bleeding to be similar for
the male and female condom, but slippage was more frequent with
female than male condoms. The authors recommended design
modifications and training in the use of the female condom for