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Reprod Health Matters. 2012 Dec;20(40):188-96. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(12)40659-0.

New female condoms in the pipeline.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Male and female condoms are currently the only effective dual protection methods against unintended pregnancy and transmission of STIs and HIV. In recent years, advocacy and support to female condom (FC) programmes and increased distribution have played a significant role in highlighting to donors, policy-makers and programme managers the importance of FCs as essential tools for dual prevention. Further, the emergence of new FC products, differing in design and materials, has the potential to lower cost and improve acceptability. There are hurdles in developing new FC products, by far the greatest being the clinical studies required for regulatory purposes. However, several new designs are now available in selected countries and some are progressing through the final stages of regulatory approval, after which they will be more widely available. The new FC designs, which may also be more affordable, will increase options and choice for couples who want to use FCs as their prevention method. Here, we review the FC products that are available now and those still in development which are expected to be available within the next two to five years.

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