|Launching and Promoting the Female Condom in Eastern and Southern Africa (UNAIDS, 1999, 25 p.)|
|II. Major themes|
Acceptability of the female condom is generally high. Studies of this factor undertaken throughout the region (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and South Africa) highlight the fact that a significant number of both women and men find the female condom to be a satisfactory method of contraception and STD/HIV prevention. As with other methods, some attributes of the female condom are viewed as both positive and negative (e.g. lubrication can be seen as enhancing sexual intercourse or seen as too greasy).
When considering the introduction of the female condom, most countries have begun with an acceptability study. Some expressed concern that continued resource expenditure on the acceptability of the female condom was no longer necessary, since existing studies have established a general level of acceptability within the region, but delegates felt that it was important to explore the acceptability of the product within their own country. They noted many cultural differences found both within countries and throughout the region. Experience in Zimbabwe reveals that countries conducting acceptability studies need also to understand how men and women would like the female condom promoted and distributed.
Additional questions to be addressed, include from whom do you want instruction about the products use? Additional necessary data should include male condom usage rates as well as prevalence rates of STD/HIV and unintended pregnancies. Analysis should consider the cost of other methods and their user profiles and an understanding of which sub-populations are interested and need access to this new method. Moreover, as the number of countries introducing the female condom continues to increase, and more women and men have experience with the product, it will become increasingly important to fund introductory trials.