Perceptions around second generation female condoms: Reporting on women’s experiences.
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This empirical study on the knowledge and perceptions of the female condom was cast against the assumption that the female condom could potentially be a powerful contraceptive tool whose use women could initiate and use against sexually transmitted diseases, and in so doing, allow them to exercise control over their bodies and sexuality, more especially within the context of the high prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS in the country. Many African women in rural spaces are faced with the situation when the male condom cannot always be comfortably demanded due to gendered power imbalances. This is where the promoting of female condoms may come into play. Against this background, we embarked on a large scale study that included 1,290 women in the greater KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province in South Africa. The findings revealed that a staggeringly high number of African women surveyed and interviewed, who are potentially the beneficiaries that stand the most to gain from female-initiated contraception, have very little exposure and knowledge of the female condom.