Use-effectiveness of the female versus male condom in preventing sexually transmitted disease in women

Sex Transm Dis. 2003 May;30(5):433-9. doi: 10.1097/00007435-200305000-00010.


Background: Data are limited on the female condom's effectiveness against STDs.

Goal: The goal was to compare STD rates between women given small-group education on, and free supplies of, either female or male condoms.

Study design: Female patients at an STD clinic (n = 1442) were randomly assigned to condom type and followed via medical records for STDs (gonorrhea, chlamydia, early syphilis, or trichomoniasis).

Results: In an intention-to-treat analysis, the odds ratio for a comparison of STD occurrence between the female and male condom groups was 0.75 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.56-1.01), and it did not change with adjustment. In a second analysis among women returning for subsequent screening, incidence rates for the first new postintervention STD per 100 woman-months of observation were 6.8 in the female condom group and 8.5 in the male condom group (rate ratio = 0.79 [CI, 0.59-1.06]).

Conclusion: Compared with those provided with male condoms alone, women counseled on, and provided with, female condoms fared no worse and experienced a nonsignificant reduction in STDs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comment
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chlamydia Infections / prevention & control
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Condoms, Female / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gonorrhea / prevention & control
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Philadelphia / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Syphilis / prevention & control
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / prevention & control