Background: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusions: 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.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Inc.