Female condom use among women at high risk of sexually transmitted disease.Fam Plann Perspect. 2000 May-Jun; 32(3):138-44.FP
Whereas the female condom has been evaluated in many hypothetical acceptability or short-term use studies, there is little information about its suitability for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or HIV over extended periods of time.
As part of a six-month prospective follow-up study of 1,159 STD clinic patients, clients were interviewed during their initial visit, exposed to a behavioral intervention promoting condoms, given a physical examination and provided with instructions on completing a sexual diary. Potential predictors of trying the female condom were evaluated using logistic regression, and three condom-use groups (exclusive users of female condoms, exclusive users of male condoms and users of both types of condoms) were compared using multinomial regression.
Among 895 women who reported having engaged in vaginal intercourse during the study period, one-half had sex with only one partner, while one-quarter each had two partners or three or more partners. A total of 731 women reported using the female condom at least once during the follow-up period--85% during the first month of follow-up. Multiple logistic regression analyses indicated that employed women and those with a regular sexual partner at baseline were significantly more likely to try the female condom. By the end of the follow-up period, 8% of participants had used the female condom exclusively, 15% had used the male condom exclusively, 73% had used both types of condom and 3% had used no condoms. Twenty percent of women who tried the female condom used it only once and 13% used it twice, while 20% used 5-9 female condoms and 32% used 10 or more. Consistent condom users (N=309) were predominantly users of both types of condom (75%), and were less often exclusive users of the male condom (18%) or the female condom (7%). According to a multivariate analysis, women who used the female condom exclusively or who mixed condom types were more likely to be black, were more likely to be employed and were more likely to have a regular partner than were users of the male condom.
Women at risk of STDs find the female condom acceptable and will try it, and some use it consistently. Mixing use of female condoms and male condoms may facilitate consistent condom use. The female condom may improve an individual's options for risk reduction and help reduce the spread of STDs.