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Female Condoms ?

What is a female condom?

A person holding up a female condom

A female condom is a thin pouch made of a synthetic latex product called nitrile. It's designed to be worn by a woman in her vagina during sex. The female condom lines the vagina and helps prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV. Some people also use the female condom for anal sex.

What we know about female condoms:

When worn in the vagina, female condoms are comparable to male condoms at preventing HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy. +

A handful of female condom brands are available in many countries around the world. However, the FC2 is the only one available in the United States. It's pre-lubricated with a silicone-based lubricant and has an inner and outer ring. The inner ring is used to guide insertion of the condom and the outer ring remains outside covering the external genitalia. The inner ring also helps keep the female condom in place in the vagina.

We don't currently have scientific evidence on how effective female condoms are at preventing HIV and other STDs when used by men or women for anal sex. But we do know that HIV can't travel through the nitrile barrier. It's safe to use any kind of lubricant with female condoms. +

Always using a female condom the right way every time you have sex can lower your risk for getting or transmitting HIV. Here are some tips on how to use a female condom.

What you can do

You and your sexual partners might consider using a female condom instead of a male condom. Female condoms allow individuals to initiate condom use when talking about or using male condoms is difficult or impossible because of an imbalance in power between partners. Female condoms also allow couples to alternate who wears the condom, giving them more options when they have sex. If you or your partner has an allergy to latex, you can use female condoms since they are made from nitrile.

Even though it may be difficult, you can learn how to talk with your partner about condoms and safer sex. And there are many tips for learning to use a condom or a dental dam the right way. Even if you use condoms the right way every time you have sex, there's still a chance of getting HIV, so adding other prevention methods, like taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV, can further reduce your risk.