Why female condoms are so hard to find
- Published on: Wednesday, March 21, 2018
- There are hundreds of different kinds of male condoms for sale in the US, so why is there only one female condom?
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There are hundreds of male condoms that have been approved by the FDA, but there is only one female condom that’s available in the US –– and you need a prescription to get it. Female condoms are almost as effective as male condoms, so why are they so hard to find?
Female condoms have been around since the 1980’s, when a Danish doctor named Lasse Hessel came up with a prototype. It was brought to the US in the 90’s under the name FC1 but the media ridiculed it, comparing it to a plastic bag.
The FC2 came out a few years later but it wasn’t marketed very well and the original stigma still stuck around. In 2017, the company that manufactures them stopped selling them in stores and changed to a prescription-only model, so you need to see a doctor to get one.
But sexual health advocates say that we should give female condoms another chance. They're the only female-initiated method of preventing STIs (including HIV) and unplanned pregnancies and many say they’re preferable for anal sex as well.
Putting them back in retail stores and raising awareness on the marketplace could give them a second wind and increase their usage.
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