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.