Are female condoms new?
No, they have been around since the early 1980’s.
The female condom plays an important role in STD/HIV prevention. It serves as a prevention device that is helpful to men and women who are in sexual relationships or settings where they are not in a position to negotiate the use of a male condom due to personal and cultural constraints.
The female condom does not replace the male condom as a means of protection, instead it provides one more way for people to protect themselves and their partners during sex.
Studies show that the introduction of female condoms in settings where the male condom is also available has resulted in an increased number of protected sex acts. For example, a study in Thailand showed that when both female and male condoms were available to users, the number of new STD infections was reduced by a quarter (Fontanet et al. Protection against sexually transmitted diseases by granting sex workers in Thailand the choice of using the male or female condom: results from a randomized controlled trial. AIDS 1998, Vol 12 No 14:1851- 1859).
1993: FDA approved FC1 (Reality Condom) as a Class III medical device (the most stringent regulatory device of substantial importance in preventing impairment of human health) and it was distributed all over the world. The manufacturer is the Female Health Company (FHC)
1996: the FHC began to build alliances and partnerships with global health agencies and governments
Between 1996 and 2003: The Fc1 was poorly received in the US and international non-profits were not able to meet their demand for female condoms due to the high cost! People said they were noisy, ugly, expensive, like having sex with a plastic bag. The FHC really listened and made changes to the condom and also started focusing on education and training.
2003: the Female Health Company began development of FC2
2006: FC2 listed on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Essential Products List.
2009 – FDA approved FC2 for sale in the US and USAIDS
Today: FDA approved FC2 for sale in the US and USAIDS and is distributed by public health organizations in about 100 countries around the world!