||Adeyemo Gabriel [ profile ]
Few takers for female condoms, cost a factor----why we needed a microbicide; a female control tool
Nov 19th, 2010 - 09:48:38
Source: Daily News & Analysis
AUTHOR: Priyanka Sharma
It is the only HIV prevention method that is under the complete control of a woman. It is also known to enhance erotic pleasure for both the sexes. Yet, the female condom, which was conceptualised as an empowering tool, is a failure in Mumbai, home to millions of modern women.
Sample this: Merely 10% of the city’s medical stores sell female condoms. Typically, the monthly sale of each store totals Rs12,000, which means only 200 pieces are sold. “The stock procured during the product’s launch in 2007 hasn’t been sold yet,” said Kunal Shah, an executive with a contraceptive distributing company.
“Condoms for men are distributed free of cost in all government-run hospitals,” said Praveen Kapadia, owner of a medical store. “But no distributing scheme is in place to encourage the use of female condoms.”
Dr Sejal Desai, a gynaecologist, points out that a large section of adolescents is aware of the product.
“But its usage is restricted to just 5% of the female population,” she said. “Most women who use it reject it.”
Quite a few reasons contribute to this state of affairs. While the male condom comes in several brands and is cheap, the female condom has just one brand backing it and is expensive.
“Except for Hindustan Latex Ltd, no company has come forward to manufacture the product,” Shah said. The cost is a put-off, a study by the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) has shown. A female condom costs almost a hundred times more than a male condom, though the price has been marked down to Rs100 per piece from an initial price of Rs250.
A male condom, on the other hand, costs between Re1 and Rs12.50 per piece.
“The demand may be more if the female condom is subsidised,” said Dr Armin Jamshedji of the FPAI.
“Also, it has structural glitches,” said Dr Nandita Palshetkar, head of the department, in-vitro fertilisation, Lilavati Hospital. “There are several flaws in its size.”
Social factors too are responsible for the poor response to the product. “Indian society still cannot accept women as active participants in sexual activities. It is likely that women are embarrassed about buying condoms,” said Dr Rishma Dhillon Pai, consultant gynaecologist and infertility specialist at Jaslok and Lilavati hospitals.
Manisha Gupte, a women’s rights and health activist, offers a solution: “The product should be sold at beauty parlours, boutiques, and lingerie stores.”
I think we still have a long way to go on this issue. A friend of mine from Malawi complimented me on my recent note about teens involvement in oral sex and also made a similar complain on this female condom. is it that our ladies don't want to use this control tools made for them or they couldn't afford the price of one? we need to advocate for all these in our upcoming WAD events, we need more female condom demonstrator cos some ladies don't even know how to use it and the fear of it now going into their vagina as a result of hard sex.
We need to make our voices heard in our various WAD 2010 event. For those in India and Malawi, please advocate for more female condom usage.
Thanks my fellow advocate.
Moderator: Students' for Microbicides (S4M), Nigeria