The high cost of the female condom, which allows women in developing countries to better protect themselves against HIV/AIDS, has led to the controversial practice of reuse.
However, programmatic guidelines for reuse to be released soon by the World Health Organisation (WHO) could provide helpful information to programme managers who need to make decisions regarding reuse.
A 2002 WHO clinical protocol stated that while a new condom is always preferable, in situations where they are not available or affordable, the female condom could be used safely at least five times.
South African Women's Health Project researcher, Mary Kawonga, told the UN news service PlusNews: "While it is encouraging that these guidelines have been released, it is important that the message gets across to those who need it. Women will need to know what to use to wash it."
A website with the WHO guidelines to help programme managers decide whether or not to support reuse of the female condom can be accessed at: www.reusefemalecondom.org
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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