Reuse of the female condom
FHI is conducting two studies and has several more planned to evaluate the
feasibility and advisability of female condom reuse. Currently, we are
conducting a study in Zambia and Bolivia among female condom users to
ascertain the incidence of reuse and to determine "why the women
reuse the female condom, how they clean and store it, and how many times
they reuse it", etc. This study was designed to be an evaluation of the
behaviors of female condom reuse.
A second study of structural integrity is completed. Female condoms were
washed/dried five and ten times, disinfected with chlorine bleach and
tested in the laboratory for strength using manufacturer
recommended quality assurance tests. Test results were compared to
baseline manufacturer's quality assurance specifications.
In the second phase of the study, 130 women each used three condoms in
three separate acts of intercourse. This phase of study was designed to
evaluate the impact of one act of intercourse on the structural integrity
of the female condom. The used condoms were washed/dried, disinfected and
tested in the laboratory for strength using manufacturer quality assurance
tests. Data are now being analyzed. Results of structural integrity and
behavioral study should be available from FHI in October. A paper on
microbial retention potential will be submitted in July.
Other studies planned or underway include: safety of female condom reuse;
microbial retention of STD in vitro; viral permeability; and structural
integrity after multiple uses.
For more information, please contact:
Associate Director Market Research
Division of Contraceptive Use and Acceptability
Family Health International
PO Box 13950
Research Triangle Park
NC 27709 USA
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