Original research article| Volume 83, ISSUE 3, P248-254, March 2011

Three new female condoms: which do South-African women prefer?



      The widespread distribution of female condoms (FCs) in developing countries has been hindered by high unit cost, making new less expensive devices a priority for donor agencies.

      Study Design

      Randomized, crossover study assessing product preference, safety, acceptability and function of three new FCs (PATH Woman's Condom, FC2 and V-Amour) among 170 women in Durban, South Africa. A subsequent ���simulated market��� study provided participants with free choice of FCs and assessed condom uptake over 3 months.


      Of the 160 women who used at least one FC of each type, 47.5% preferred the PATH Woman's Condom (WC), 35.6% preferred FC2 and 16.3% preferred V-Amour (p<.001). Women rated the WC better than FC2 and V-Amour for appearance, ease of use and overall fit and better than V-Amour for feel. WC was rated worse than FC2 and V-Amour for lubrication volume. The simulated market demonstrated similar preferences. Total clinical failure rates (i.e., the types of failures that could result in pregnancy or STI) were low (<4%), regardless of condom type.


      Three new FC types functioned similarly and were generally acceptable. Most participants preferred WC and FC2 over V-Amour, and WC was preferred over FC2 in several acceptability measures.


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