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The female condom: new preventive for sex-related diseases.


Women may have greater assurance of safe sex if the FDA approves widespread use of a polyurethane device developed for the vagina that is impermeable to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Developed for the Jackson, Wis.-based Wisconsin Pharmacal company by Dr. Mary Ann Leeper, a specialist in pharmaceutical chemistry, and her associates, the device is reported to be 25 percent less likely to leak than the current rubber latex condoms worn by males. "Basically," reports Leeper, "what we found was that both the man and woman had less chance of being exposed to bodily fluids than when the male condom was used." She also reports the limitations of a latex condom--i.e., pinhole leaks and eventual deterioration of the latex.

The female condom consists of a polyurethane sheath with rings at either end. The inner ring, inserted in the vagina, covers the cervix and holds the condom in place; the outer ring hangs over the labia (the vaginal "lips"). In studies of 350 volunteer couples who used the female condom a total of 500 to 3,000 times, both men and women found the condom to be generally satisfactory. Also, the possibility for sharing responsibility for safety by alternating the use of a male and a female condom was viewed by the couples as potentially improving their relationship, says Leeper.
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Title Annotation:developed by Wisconsin Pharmacal
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Oct 1, 1989
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