Acceptability of the female condom by Sub-Saharan African women: A literature review
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Number of pages
SourceAfrican Journal of Reproductive Health, 18, 4, (2014), pp. 34-44
Article / Letter to editor
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FSW_Institute for Gender Studies (IGS)
SW OZ RSCR CAOS
African Journal of Reproductive Health
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies; Dynamics of gender
Sub-Saharan African women are affected disproportionately highly by AIDS, while experiencing lack of choice for devices which protect them against sexual transmitted diseases, including HIV. One should expect that global policy makers react positive to the female condom, a contraceptive device which offers dual protection. However, those policy makers often argue that the female condom is not acceptable to its users. Our objective is to find out whether this general statement is based on existing empirical data. Through a literature review we analysed empirical studies done between 2003 and 2013 and compared the extent to which female condoms were acceptable among women in sub-Saharan Africa. We found that acceptability was defined in different ways, along the line of two types of studies: intervention and non-intervention studies. The intervention studies defined acceptability as women who agreed to use the female condom several times. The non-intervention studies which were not linked to specific interventions, operationalized acceptability in terms of women who liked the female condom, not necessarily based on practical experience or use. Intervention studies led to a high proportion of women using the technology, rating the experiences as satisfactory, although recommending technical improvements. In contrast, non-intervention studies showed low use due to non-acceptability mixed with reasons of unfamiliarity, unavailability or unaffordability. We concluded that women in sub-Saharan Africa accepted the use of the female condom when potential users were given access to the device, and exposed to interventions which supported the use of a female condom.
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