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AFRO-NETS> Reuse of the female condom

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:

Carol Joanis
Associate Director Market Research 
Division of Contraceptive Use and Acceptability
Family Health International
PO Box 13950 
Research Triangle Park 
NC 27709 USA 

Diane Lennox
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