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 wish 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 analogous sentiment. When requested if she want to use female condoms, she replied, “undecided”. That is although 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 stop undesirable pregnancies however are equally essential for selling protected sexual practices. “If used accurately, they’re 95 per cent efficient. They defend in opposition to 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 Tablets (ECPs), nevertheless, feminine condoms are lesser-known and even lesser-used, in response to specialists. So, what’s holding girls again?
Indianexpress.com reached out to specialists in numerous fields to know the significance of speaking about feminine contraceptives, particularly feminine condoms, which can be thought of “cumbersome” to make use of.
In accordance with Himani Bajaj, 31, a PhD analysis scholar at Ambedkar College Delhi who has undertaken analysis centered on younger girls’s expertise of negotiating contraceptives, none of her 35 topics within the age group of 18-32 years “had ever used a feminine condom”, with ECPs or male condom being the popular selections. “A few of them cited the truth that it’s easier to pop a capsule or ask the male associate to place a male condom as an alternative of inserting the condom contained in the vagina,” shared Bajaj.
What are feminine condoms?
Feminine condoms act as a contraceptive barrier that may be worn contained in the vagina. They stop undesirable pregnancies by stopping sperm from assembly an egg whereas additionally stopping sexually transmitted infections that will happen as a result of body-to-body contact. Female condoms might be positioned into the vagina upto eight hours earlier than getting intimate with a associate.
They’re product of both polyurethane, pure rubber, or artificial rubber, all of which don’t use MBT/ZMBT or mercaptobenzothiazole, a chemical materials that has not too long ago been recognized as a possible carcinogen by the Worldwide Company for Analysis on Cancer, 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 lively and unbiased accountability for stopping being pregnant and the unfold of STIs”. “Whenever you use feminine condoms, you don’t have to depend on your male companions to offer and put on their very own condoms. Different advantages embody comfort, male genital erection isn’t required, elevated sexual arousal, and it hardly ever causes allergic reactions,” she mentioned.
The way to use a feminine condom?
Discover a comfy place. Whereas holding the surface of the condom on the closed finish, squeeze the perimeters 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’s going to go till it rests in opposition to the cervix,” defined Dr Gupta.
Is it for each lady?
“It is dependent upon one’s wants and preferences. It additionally is dependent upon its availability, as not a lot consciousness is there,” Dr Gupta mentioned.
“What’s that? We solely preserve male condoms,” mentioned a chemist from a well known pharmacy that indianexpress.com reached out to over the cellphone.
This lack of availability coupled with selling protected intercourse practices prompted Pee Secure, an intimate hygiene model, to not too long ago foray into the feminine condom section with Domina. “The feminine inhabitants as we speak is conscious of its rights, together with these associated to hygiene and sexual well being. Web penetration has additional influenced shopping for behaviour. Our intention is to not solely handle this section but in addition be sure that we play an element in stopping sexually transmitted infections like AIDS,” mentioned Vikas Bagaria, founder, Pee Secure.
Generally known as 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’ve completed gross sales of round 23 million items in 2019-2020 worldwide for female 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 using 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 supervisor, Cupid Restricted, which manufactures Cupid Angel feminine condoms.
Nevertheless, as per expertise analysis firm TechNavio, by way of market scope, the APAC area, pushed primarily by India and China, is ready to be the fastest-growing marketplace for feminine condom. It estimates that the worldwide market measurement for this product class is roughly 800 million. The gross sales, like Dhage identified are principally on-line, contemplating only a few bodily pharmacies preserve inventory.
Even because the market is ready to witness an upward trajectory, presently, the “unavailability”, excessive price, lack of primary know-how of insertion methods, and consciousness have been identified as viable causes for the shortage 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 because of the 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,” confused Dhage, whereas stating that precise manufacturing price “can’t be disclosed owing to enterprise causes”.
Regardless of many research and proof exhibiting constructive consumer expertise and acceptance, feminine condoms have remained out of most authorities applications, mentioned Dipa Nag Chowdhury, programme director, Inhabitants Basis of India. “Some research have additionally highlighted considerations round its acceptance by males. Moreover, pricing and packaging are additionally a few of the different points seen as causes for his or her poor uptake,” defined Nag Chowdhury.
So, what might be completed? “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 health and household planning companies,” mentioned Nag Chowdhury.
Dr Singh added, “Primarily based 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, only some individuals use the feminine condom accurately each time. Correct schooling, subsequently, must be given on how one can use them completely.”