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Contraception. 1995 Oct;52(4):223-8.

Interaction of condom design and user techniques and condom acceptability.

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  • 1ORSTOM, Montpellier, France.


In 1991, the source of public sector condom supplies in an African country changed from USAID to WHO. Following a complaint, the two types of condoms were sampled and compared. Laboratory tests indicated that the new-style condoms were of adequate quality, but a number of differences were noted between the two types. Complaints that the condoms were short and broke frequently could not be reconciled with measurements. Lubricant quantities on the WHO-supplied condoms were found to be lower than on the USAID condoms, but still within the range found on the commercial market. Also, the WHO condoms were marginally narrower and thicker. WHO asked the authors to conduct field interviews to seek reasons for the reported problems. These revealed that the relative dissatisfaction with the WHO condoms was largely confined to a group of sex workers in a follow-up programme conducted by two educators funded by a European agency. The instructions for use being given by the educators magnified the risk of incorrect application of the condom. Design changes to the WHO condoms (regarding lubricant, size and thickness) were subsequently made to minimise the chance of wrong use.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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