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Three years in the past, a 28-year-old Mumbai-based photographer handed on a feminine condom–that was gifted to her by somebody who didn’t need to use it — to a good friend. “I gifted it to a different good friend who I assumed would use. As for me, I used to be undecided the way it works, and have additionally heard it’s uncomfortable,” she mentioned. However, because it turned out, even the good friend by no means used it.

Nandni Sharma, a 38-year-old Delhi-based publicist pertains to the episode and shares an identical sentiment. When requested if she want to use Female condoms, she replied, “undecided”. That is even if she first examine feminine condoms in a “lady’s journal couple of years in the past, and was intrigued how they labored”.

Feminine contraceptives are recognized to be extraordinarily useful; they not solely assist forestall undesirable pregnancies however are equally essential for selling secure sexual practices. “If used accurately, they’re 95 per cent efficient. They shield towards unplanned being pregnant and sexually transmitted infections (STIs),” mentioned Dr Anubha Singh, gynecologist, IVF professional, and medical director, Shantah Fertility Centre, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.

Compared to contraceptives like male condoms and Emergency Contraceptive Drugs (ECPs), nevertheless, feminine condoms are lesser-known and even lesser-used, in response to consultants. So, what’s holding girls again?

What are Female condoms?

Feminine condoms act as a contraceptive barrier that may be worn contained in the vagina. They forestall undesirable pregnancies by stopping sperm from assembly an egg whereas additionally stopping sexually transmitted infections which will happen because of body-to-body contact. Feminine condoms might be positioned into the vagina upto eight hours earlier than getting intimate with a companion.

They’re fabricated from both polyurethane, pure rubber, or artificial rubber, all of which don’t use MBT/ZMBT or mercaptobenzothiazole, a chemical materials that has lately been recognized as a possible carcinogen by the Worldwide Company for Analysis on Most cancers, as per World Well being Group.

What are the advantages?

Dr Shobha Gupta, gynecologist and IVF professional from Mom’s Lap IVF Centre, Pitampura, New Delhi, mentioned feminine condoms present the identical advantages as male condoms however “permit girls to take extra energetic and impartial duty for stopping being pregnant and the unfold of STIs”. “While you use feminine condoms, you don’t have to depend on your male companions to supply and put on their very own condoms. Different advantages embrace comfort, male genital erection isn’t required, elevated sexual arousal, and it hardly ever causes allergic reactions,” she mentioned.

Find out how to use a Female condom?

Discover a snug place. Whereas holding the skin of the condom on the closed finish, squeeze the edges of the interior ring collectively together with your thumb and forefinger and insert into the vagina. “It’s much like inserting a tampon. Utilizing your finger, push the interior ring as far up as it would go till it rests towards the cervix,” defined Dr Gupta.

Is it for each lady?

“It will depend on one’s wants and preferences. It additionally will depend on its availability, as not a lot consciousness is there,” Dr Gupta mentioned.

This lack of availability coupled with selling secure intercourse practices prompted Pee Secure, an intimate hygiene model, to lately foray into the feminine condom phase with Domina. “The feminine inhabitants right now is conscious of its rights, together with these associated to hygiene and sexual well being. Web penetration has additional influenced shopping for behaviour. Our purpose is to not solely deal with this phase but in addition make sure that we play a component in stopping sexually transmitted infections like AIDS,” mentioned Vikas Bagaria, founder, Pee Secure.

Often called India’s first producer of feminine condoms, Cupid Restricted’s sale figures are round 25,000 items every year, totally on “on-line platforms”. “We now have accomplished gross sales of round 23 million items in 2019-2020 worldwide for feminine condom. Most of this sale is to the Ministry of Well being in international locations like South Africa and Brazil. If the Indian well being ministry additionally procures and promotes the usage of feminine condoms, then its consciousness and demand will improve in India. The MRP of our two-piece pockets of feminine condoms is Rs 95,” mentioned Swapnil Dhage, advertising and marketing supervisor, Cupid Restricted, which manufactures Cupid Angel feminine condoms.

Nevertheless, as per expertise analysis firm TechNavio, when it comes to market scope, the APAC area, pushed primarily by India and China, is about to be the fastest-growing marketplace for feminine condom. It estimates that the worldwide market dimension for this product class is roughly 800 million. The gross sales, like Dhage identified are largely on-line, contemplating only a few bodily pharmacies maintain inventory.

Even because the market is about to witness an upward trajectory, at the moment, the “unavailability”, excessive price, lack of primary know-how of insertion strategies, and consciousness have been identified as viable causes for the dearth of such contraceptive use.

Whereas a pack of 10 male condoms prices Rs 180, a pack of two feminine condoms is priced round Rs 100. “The costing is extra as a result of development of the condom as a male condom has simply latex whereas a feminine condom additionally comes with a hoop, and an artificial rubber or polyurethane,” burdened Dhage, whereas stating that precise manufacturing price “can’t be disclosed owing to enterprise causes”.

Regardless of many research and proof displaying constructive consumer expertise and acceptance, feminine condoms have remained out of most authorities packages, mentioned Dipa Nag Chowdhury, programme director, Inhabitants Basis of India. “Some research have additionally highlighted issues round its acceptance by males. Moreover, pricing and packaging are additionally among the different points seen as causes for his or her poor uptake,” defined Nag Chowdhury.

So, what might be accomplished? “Going ahead, feminine condoms have to be popularised and made accessible to all girls, as an integral a part of the world’s dedication to offering common entry to sexual and reproductive well being and household planning providers,” mentioned Nag Chowdhury.

Dr Singh added, “Based mostly on previous analysis on the speed of profitable use of barrier strategies of contraception, the outcomes are divided into two classes: excellent use or typical use. In actuality, just a few folks use the feminine condom accurately each time. Correct training, subsequently, needs to be given on how one can use them completely.”

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