|Consultation on Re-use of the Female Condom (UNAIDS, 2000, 2 p.)|
The burden of sexually transmitted infections, including infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the cause of the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), continues to increase worldwide. Use of barrier methods, most notably consistent and correct use of the male latex condom, is advocated as a primary means of interrupting the spread of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. Because of the difficulties many women face negotiating the use of male condoms, the female condom is an important option to assist women in protecting themselves and their partners from both unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
The only female condom currently available is a strong, soft, transparent polyurethane sheath inserted in the vagina before sexual intercourse. This device has been approved and marketed for single-use only.
Re-use of the device by women who are unable to access a new female condom has been reported in a number of countries. WHO and UNAIDS have been requested to advise countries, programme managers and individuals who are using this female condom on the safety of re-use practices.