- Safe, no side effects
- May protect external genitalia
- Laboratory studies: some protection against
STDs, including HIV
- Human study: protects against trichomoniasis
- Access to both male and female condoms may
increase overall condom use
Source: Soper et al, 1993; Fontanet et al, 1998.
Another barrier method, the female condom, was developed in
response to the need for female-initiated alternatives to male
Made of polyurethane, the female condom is safe to use and
free of side effects. Like the male condom, it prevents sperm
from coming in direct contact with a womans reproductive
tract. When inserted, part of the female condom remains outside
the vagina, providing additional protection to the labia and
the base of the penis. This design may reduce the risk of transfer
of infectious organisms from genital ulcers.
Laboratory studies have shown that female condoms protect against
various STDs, including HIV. Human studies are limited, but
one has found that consistent use of the female condom provides
protection against trichomoniasis. Conclusive research on the
female condoms effectiveness in preventing STD transmission
remains to be done.
Research has shown that overall condom use may increase when
couples have access to both male and female condoms, rather
than male condoms only.