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The new female condom (FC2) in Uganda: perceptions and experiences of users and their sexual partners

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The new version of the female condom (FC2) was introduced in Uganda in October 2009, following an unsuccessful female condom programme begun in 1998. The failure of the earlier programme was partly attributed to low acceptance of the first type of female condom (FC1). We evaluated the acceptability of FC2 and the experiences of users and their sexual partners. This was a qualitative cross-sectional evaluation. We conducted 16 in-depth interviews with FC2 users (8 women and 8 male partners). We also conducted eight focus group discussions with women who used FC2, and 22 key informant interviews with service providers. All the female users appreciated FC2 as a tool to empower them to avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies. They liked FC2 because it has no smell, is not noisy, and does not rupture easily. The men also liked FC2 because of its soft texture and lubrication. Some women found FC2 insertion cumbersome, while others feared that it would slip in on itself during sex. Concurrent use of male condoms with FC2 and the reuse of FC2 were also mentioned. Providers reported a high demand for FC2; their main challenges were inadequate supplies and distribution mechanisms. This evaluation shows generally high acceptance of FC2. The experiences of users and their partners were largely positive, although some fears and incorrect practices arose. FC2 should be added to the existing HIV/STI-prevention and family-planning options in Uganda and other countries, with sufficient training and support to ensure correct use.
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Keywords: Africa; HIV prevention; contraceptive methods; evaluation; family planning; interpersonal relations; qualitative research; sexually transmitted infections

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Makerere University School of Public Health, PO Box 7072Kampala, Uganda 2: Ministry of Health/AIDS Control Programme, PO Box 7272Kampala, Uganda 3: Programme for Accessible Health, Communication and Education, PO Box 27659Kampala, Uganda 4: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Uganda Country Office, PO Box 7184Kampala, Uganda 5: Mulago Hospital, PO Box 7072Kampala, Uganda

Publication date: 2011-09-01

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