Female Condom – What You Should Know
The female condom is a non-hormone form of birth control that the woman can use. Two types of female condoms have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: the FC1 (made of polyurethane and no longer produced) and the FC2 (made of synthetic latex and has a silicone-based lubricant).
Here are some important facts about the female condom that you should know about.
It is a little less effective than the male condom
MedlinePlus stated that the female condom’s effectiveness ranges from 75 and 82 percent. In comparison, the male condom should be 97 percent effective, but its actual effectiveness ranges from 80 percent to 90 percent, according to MedlinePlus.
But the reasons that the female condom would not be effective are the same as for the male condom. For example, the female condom will not protect a woman against an unwanted pregnancy if the condom tears, is placed in the woman’s vagina after contact with the penis, or if semen spills during removal.
It can protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
Besides protecting against unwanted pregnancies, the female condom protects against sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. The female condom is a barrier method of birth control — a barrier separates the vagina from the penis.
The female condom is inserted into the woman’s vagina before intercourse. It can also be used for anal sex when inserted into the anus.
Planned Parenthood explained that to insert a female condom, “squeeze together the sides of the inner ring at the closed end of the condom and insert it into the vagina like a tampon. Push the inner ring into the vagina as far as it can go — until it reaches the cervix. Pull out your finger and let the outer ring hang about an inch outside the vagina.”
Female condoms are being used in a campaign in Washington, D.C. for AIDS prevention.
The New York Times reported that the program, called “D.C.’s Doin’ It!” started two years ago with the giving away of 500,000 female condoms.
Study on the program found that it prevented 23 infections at a cost of $18,000 per prevented infection. In comparison, the cost for medical care for an infected individual is $367,000.
It does not require a prescription
Women interested in the female condom do not need a prescription. The female condom is available at drugstores, as well as family planning clinics. Planned Parenthood noted that the cost nationally and online ranges from $2 to $4, but that can vary depending on where a woman lives.