Helpdesk Report: Female Condoms



  • As a dual protection method, is demand for and uptake of FC correlated to HIV prevalence?
  • A number of studies are available on the acceptability of various FC products, but there are knowledge gaps in terms of user profiles. From a review of the literature in high prevalence HIV contexts and concentrated epidemics, what do we know about usage of FC among different age groups, marital status, vulnerability?
  • What do we know about frequency, repeat or sustained use? (a critical success factor for scaling up)
  • How do men's perspectives and choices influence use?
  • Do women who use FC do so in combination/mix with other methods? (Evidence seems to suggest FCs most successful in contexts where MC already successful)


This report provides information on: who uses the female condom (FC); whether FC use is correlated with HIV prevalence; frequency, repeat or sustained use of FCs; the influence of men on FC use; whether the FC is used in combination with other methods of contraception. Recommendations listed are:

  • Education and demonstration of correct use
  • Negotiation skills training
  • Men should be educated
  • Target high-risk populations
  • In countries with high HIV prevalence, target couples of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Secure funding to subsidise female condoms so that they can be made available to high-risk populations.


Holley, C.; Baxter, S. Helpdesk Report: Female Condoms. Human Development Resource Centre, UK (2011) 24 pp.

Helpdesk Report: Female Condoms

Published 1 January 2011