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 buddy. “I gifted it to a different buddy 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. But, because it turned out, even the buddy by no means used it.
Nandni Sharma, a 38-year-old Delhi-based publicist pertains to the episode and shares the same sentiment. When requested if she want to use feminine condoms, she replied, “undecided”. This is even though she first examine feminine condoms in a “girl’s journal couple of years in the past, and was intrigued how they labored”.
Female contraceptives are identified to be extraordinarily helpful; they not solely assist forestall undesirable pregnancies however are equally necessary 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 skilled, and medical director, Shantah Fertility Centre, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.
In comparability to contraceptives like male condoms and Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs), nevertheless, feminine condoms are lesser-known and even lesser-used, in response to specialists. So, what’s holding ladies again?
Indianexpress.com reached out to specialists in varied fields to know the significance of speaking about feminine contraceptives, particularly feminine condoms, which can be thought of “cumbersome” to make use of.
According to Himani Bajaj, 31, a PhD analysis scholar at Ambedkar University Delhi who has undertaken analysis centered on younger ladies’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. “Some of them cited the truth that it’s less complicated to pop a capsule or ask the male companion to place a male condom as an alternative of inserting the condom contained in the vagina,” shared Bajaj.
What are feminine condoms?
Female condoms act as a contraceptive barrier that may be worn contained in the vagina. They forestall undesirable pregnancies by stopping sperm from assembly an egg whereas additionally stopping sexually transmitted infections that will happen resulting from body-to-body contact. Female condoms could be positioned into the vagina upto eight hours earlier than getting intimate with a companion.
They are 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 International Agency for Research on Cancer, as per World Health Organization.
What are the advantages?
Dr Shobha Gupta, gynecologist and IVF skilled from Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, Pitampura, New Delhi, mentioned feminine condoms present the identical advantages as male condoms however “enable ladies to take extra energetic and unbiased duty for stopping being pregnant and the unfold of STIs”. “When you utilize feminine condoms, you don’t have to depend on your male companions to supply and put on their very own condoms. Other advantages embrace comfort, male genital erection just isn’t required, elevated sexual arousal, and it hardly ever causes allergic reactions,” she mentioned.
How to make use of a feminine condom?
Find a cushty place. While holding the skin of the condom on the closed finish, squeeze the perimeters of the inside ring collectively together with your thumb and forefinger and insert into the vagina. “It is just like inserting a tampon. Using your finger, push the inside 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 girl?
“It will depend on one’s wants and preferences. It additionally will depend on its availability, as not a lot consciousness is there,” Dr Gupta mentioned.
“What is that? We solely maintain 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 Safe, 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. Internet penetration has additional influenced shopping for behaviour. Our goal is to not solely deal with this section but in addition be sure that we play a component in stopping sexually transmitted infections like AIDS,” mentioned Vikas Bagaria, founder, Pee Safe.
Known as India’s first producer of feminine condoms, Cupid Limited’s sale figures are round 25,000 items every year, totally on “on-line platforms”. “We have finished gross sales of round 23 million items in 2019-2020 worldwide for female condom. Most of this sale is to the Ministry of Health in international locations like South Africa and Brazil. If the Indian well being ministry additionally procures and promotes the usage of feminine condoms, then its consciousness and demand will enhance in India. The MRP of our two-piece pockets of feminine condoms is Rs 95,” mentioned Swapnil Dhage, advertising supervisor, Cupid Limited.
However, as per expertise analysis firm TechNavio, when it comes to market scope, the APAC area, pushed primarily by India and China, is about to be the fastest-growing marketplace for feminine condom. It estimates that the worldwide market dimension for this product class is roughly 800 million. The gross sales, like Dhage identified are largely on-line, contemplating only a few bodily pharmacies maintain inventory.
Even because the market is about 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 dearth of such contraceptive use.
While a pack of 10 male condoms prices Rs 180, a pack of two feminine condoms is priced round Rs 100. “The costing is extra as a result of building of the condom as a male condom has simply latex whereas a movie condom additionally comes with a hoop, and an artificial rubber or polyurethane,” burdened Dhage, whereas stating that precise manufacturing price “can’t be disclosed owing to enterprise causes”.
Despite many research and proof displaying constructive person expertise and acceptance, feminine condoms have remained out of most authorities packages, mentioned Dipa Nag Chowdhury, programme director, Population Foundation of India. “Some research have additionally highlighted considerations round its acceptance by males. Additionally, 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 could be finished? “Going ahead, feminine condoms have to be popularised and made obtainable to all ladies, as an integral a part of the world’s dedication to offering common entry to sexual and reproductive well being and household planning companies,” mentioned Nag Chowdhury.
Dr Singh added, “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. Proper training, subsequently, must be given on how one can use them completely.”