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article imageFDA Approves the Next-Gen Female Condom

By KJ Mullins     Mar 13, 2009 in Health
The FDA has just approved the next-gen female condom. This is a dream come true for public health advocates who have touted that the birth control is a way to protect women from the HIV virus.
Soon women whose partners refuse to use a condom can reach into their bags for an affordable 'rubber' of their own. The female condom has been on the market for 16 years but the cost has always been much higher than a male condom. It still is at $2.80 to $4 a piece. With the FDA approval for a next-gen female condom that price may change to just about 60 cents.
PR Newswire reports:
"We join women around the world in applauding the FDA's swift action to approve the FC2 female condom," stated Serra Sippel, executive director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity. "The HIV pandemic among women requires increased investment in woman-centered prevention options, and FC2 approval is an important step forward in putting the power of prevention in women's hands."
The next-gen condom is made out of synthetic nitrile, a product much less expensive for Chicago-based Female Health Company to produce.
Scientific America reports:
"Having a less expensive Female Condom increases the probability of women who need it having access to it," Mary Ann Leeper, the company's senior strategic adviser, told Reuters after the FDA approved the FC2 on Wednesday.
The female condom works much like a male condom. Covering the cervix, it open with a ring that protects the outside of the vagina. It is about 6.5 inches long. The newer version will look the same but be made with the less expensive rubber.
So far the United Nations has distributed the original version to 142 countries. Some women have said that the condom is ugly and that it makes squeaking sounds. In the product information pamphlet it is recommended that women use the product three times before making a final decision on it. Because the outer ring is visible partners know that the birth control is being used.
The female condom has potential in saving lives. It gives women the power to protect themselves from the HIV virus and birth control. It is the only birth control that is made for women that blocks the virus from the body.
Prevention Now reports:
“Female condoms are a vital tool for prevention, women’s empowerment and communication between
partners, and in Zimbabwe, we greatly welcome this decision by the U.S. FDA,” said Edinah Masiyiwa,
executive director of Women’s Action Group (WAG) - Zimbabwe. “Women and men alike benefit
from the female condom, with regard to their health, happiness and pleasure.”
It may take up to a year for the next-gen condom to be on the market. Advocates are pushing for the United States government to react quickly though to ensure rapid expansion for female condom distribution and education.
"We praise Congress for including specific references to female condoms, as both male and female condoms are safe and effective HIV prevention tools that are available to women and men today. We now look to the next leader of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator to ensure that female condoms are truly available, accessible and well-programmed for women and men worldwide," said Serra Sippel.
For more information on the fight against AIDS sign up at Prevention Now. Net.
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