Exploring women's perceptions on the use of the female condom among female attendees at an inner-city family planning clinic in Durban, South Africa.
This research study seeks to explore perceptions of family planning clients towards the female condom, as well as examine factors that facilitate or inhibit the use of the device by women of different age groups. The study targets women aged 18-35 who attend the Commercial City Clinic located in Durban, South Africa. This study targets this group since they fall in the category of those most besieged by HIV, hence the need for protection against infection. While most research on condom use has focused the technicalities of barriers prevention methods, relatively less is known about attitudes, motivation and strategies employed by users or would-be users. Although Femidom has been widely accepted as an effective method in STI and pregnancy prevention, nevertheless its usefulness is hampered by a number of factors. Factors range from partner’s objection; men’s negative attitude to use of the device; refusal to use any condom during sex; distrust of the method by male partner; Femidom insertion difficulties in women; reduced sexual sensation for some women when the device is in use; and preference of a discreet method by women not requiring permission by the male sexual counterpart to use the female condom While this study acknowledges that the female condom is an imperfect technology, nevertheless, ways need to be found on how to raise its acceptability. Such a measure is necessary since the female-controlled HIV prevention device has great potential if better marketed and distributed. However, that potential can only be realized if women’s vulnerabilities in the biological, cultural, economic and social domains are addressed. In so doing, this would enable women to gain greater control over their sexual health and also empower them in sexual relationships, thus bettering their lot than is the case at present.