HomeLocal‘Female condom side-effects exaggerated’

‘Female condom side-effects exaggerated’

Experts say the female condom remains the only tool for HIV prevention that gives women control and choice over their sexual health.

There are different types of female condoms and the old model was made of plastic (polyurethane).

The second generation of the female condoms is made of synthentic nitrile and are said to make less noise during intercourse.

A recent version is made of latex, the same material used in male condoms.

A snap survey showed that the device was not popular with women because of a number of perceptions and lack of information.

Most women who were interviewed said the condom produced too much noise during intercourse and was difficult to use.

Patricia Chiutsi, a 43-year-old vendor from Tafara said she started using the female condom this year when her husband  tested HIV positive but has never enjoyed the experience.

“l was introduced to female condoms when I visited Beatrice Hospital with my husband,” she said.

“We liked it because we realised that it was very strong, reliable and that it can be worn hours before the act.

“Unfortunately after a week of using it, l developed some rash and l immediately went to seek medical attention and was told to stop using it.”

Mary Mutasa (39) who is also a vendor said she did not know anything about condoms because her husband was not interested in using protection.

“Ever since we got married 10 years l ago we have been having unprotected sex,” Mutasa said.

“There is no way that he can agree to start using protection today but given a chance I would use the female condom.”

A teacher from Glen View said she stopped using the female condom after she failed to learn to insert it.

But a sex worker who only identified herself as Beulah said she had been relying on the contraceptive for years now because it does not easily burst like male condoms.

Patience Kunaka, the Population Services International (PSI) interpersonal communications manager’s said most negative perceptions about the female condom were unfounded.

“According to research, these condoms do not have side effects,” she said.

“One might develop that rush after using an expired product or that person might have developed the rash before using the condom.

“It is always safe for people to check the expiry dates of the condoms before using them.”

Kunaka also dismissed rumours that prostitutes especially in border towns re-use the female condom saying the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has intensified the distribution of the free condoms in rural areas.

She said where the condoms are sold, they were available at reasonable prices.

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