Background: Several case-control studies suggest that the male condom protects women against some sexually transmitted diseases. The female condom is the first barrier device under the woman's control that may be effective in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
Goal of this study: To determine if appropriate use of the female condom decreased the rate of recurrent vaginal trichomoniasis in previously diagnosed and treated women.
Study design: One hundred and four sexually active women with vaginal trichomoniasis were treated with metronidazole and assigned to a group using the female condom or a control group during a 45-day period of continued sexual activity. Fifty women served as controls, and 54 women were assigned to use the female condom.
Results: Only 20 women used the female condom each time they had sexual intercourse. Reinfection with trichomonas occurred in 7/50 (14%) controls, in 5/34 (14.7%) noncompliant users, and in 0/20 compliant users of the female condom.
Conclusion: The compliant use of the female condom is effective in preventing recurrent vaginal trichomoniasis.
PIP: Gynecologists used a single 2 gm oral dose of metronidazole to treat 104 sexually active women (= or 18 years old) for vaginal trichomoniasis as part of a study to determine whether the female condom, when used properly, can protect against reinfection. They counseled the women about the risk of reinfection and to use barrier protection to prevent reinfection. The study took place at urban medical centers in New Haven, Connection; Lose Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Richmond, Virginia. 50 women, who said they would not use the female condom every time they engaged in coitus during the next 45 days, comprised the control group. Cases were divided into compliant and noncompliant users (N = 20 and 34, respectively). Noncompliant users did not use barrier protection during at least 1 sexual intercourse (mean = 5.1 times). None of the compliant users experienced recurring vaginal trichomoniasis, while 14.7% (5) of noncompliant users and 14% (7) of controls did (p = .09 and .08, respectively). Further, the number of genital contacts (e.g., pre-ejaculatory coitus) before inserting the female condom was much higher in the noncompliant users reinfected with vaginal trichomoniasis than it was in noncompliant users not reinfected (12.25 vs. 4.23; p = .03). In addition, the controls had essentially the same number of unprotected genital contacts as did the noncompliant users (12.1 and 12.25, respectively). These findings suggested that a dose-response relationship exists between female condom use and number of unprotected genital contacts. They also demonstrated that compliant use of the female condom protects against recurrent vaginal trichomoniasis. Further studies should examine whether compliant use of the female condom also protects against gonorrhea, chlamydia, and other sexually transmitted diseases.