This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

It's Time to Promote the Female Condom

You may or may not know that today is Global Female Condom Day. It is not the kind of thing that people talk a lot about, and of course that's the problem! The female condom is actually the answer to several problems faced by reproductive age women all over the world--protecting yourself from sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy, and doing so without having to hope that your male sex partner will agree to use a condom. USAID offers some useful information:
The female condom is the only female-initiated method available that can be worn by women for protection against both unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Female condom use can also be initiated by men. A growing body of evidence shows that effective female condom promotion to both women and men can increase the proportion of protected sex acts. 
Qualitative studies have shown that some women are able to use the female condom in situations where they cannot negotiate male condom use, and many users alternate between male and female condoms. Because the female condom can be inserted before sex and is not dependent on an erect penis, it may be particularly useful for women whose partners are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The single biggest impediment to its use in developing countries is that it costs more than a male condom, despite having the same level of protection. This is apparently largely a function of supply and demand. The device has been around since 1993 (and the "second generation" device since 2006), but its rate of adoption has been slow. If the word gets out about the use-effectiveness and other benefits of the female condom, more manufacturers may step in (more jobs, right?) and increased competition should work to lower the price. That would make the day for a lot of women.

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