Journal article Open Access

A review of the effectiveness and acceptability of the female condom for dual protection

Gallo, Maria F.; Kilbourne-Brook, Maggie; Coffey, Patricia S.

The female condom remains the sole female-initiated method of dual protection against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmissible infections (STIs), including HIV. We reviewed published data on the effectiveness and acceptability of the female condom for protection against pregnancy and infection. Overall, use of the female condom is low and several barriers hinder the wider adoption of the use of the method. Research on effectiveness has focussed on pregnancy, STIs and biological markers of semen exposure. Although the data available suggest that female condoms (or a mixture of female and male condoms) may provide similar degrees of protection against pregnancy and STIs as do latex male condoms alone, this conclusion has not been demonstrated and thus comparative research is urgently needed.

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