From practice to policy : a critical study of the perceptions and use of the female condom by women in Durban.
The study aims to probe the perceptions and experiences of using female condoms for women living in Durban. The study probes these perceptions and experiences within the embedded socio-cultural and gendered dynamics that influence, not only the perception and understanding of the female condom, but their gendered use as well. The study was premised on the understanding that female condoms or FCs are a ‘female initiated’ prevention method in preventing unplanned pregnancy, and most importantly in protecting against STIs and HIV/AIDS. The study also assumed that, given the feminized face of the AIDS pandemic, FCs could potentially be an empowering contraceptive tool with which women can exercise control over their own bodies and some control within their sexual relationships; negotiating safer sex, preventing pregnancy and the transmission of STIs like HIV. Mixed methods were used to collect data, using methodological tools such as a questionnaire, focus groups and in-depth interviews with participants from Chatsworth, Durban Central, Inanda, Lamontville, and Wentworth.