Technologies for Reproductive Health

Woman’s Condom

Expanding options for dual protection

Holding the Woman's Condom

The Woman’s Condom offers a new option for dual protection from unintended pregnancy and STIs/HIV. Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern.

High rates of unintended pregnancy, maternal mortality, and HIV infection among women worldwide emphasize the need for prevention tools that are designed with women’s realities in mind. The female condom is the only woman-initiated technology available today that protects from both unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. Female condoms are a good option for women and their partners who seek contraceptive protection without hormones or side effects, who need “dual protection” from pregnancy and STIs, and who want a method that can be used without seeing a health provider. In spite of these benefits, availability and uptake of existing female condom products have been low in many places.

To help bring additional lifesaving dual protection options to women and men, PATH and our partners developed the Woman’s Condom, a second-generation female condom. The Woman’s Condom was designed to provide dual protection and to be highly acceptable and pleasurable. It has special design features that enable easy insertion, secure fit during use, good sensation, and easy removal. Read more >>

User-centered design

With funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under CONRAD, PATH developed the Woman’s Condom over a six-year period with input from women and couples on four continents. Engaging users as co-designers helped us develop a highly acceptable new female condom positioned to meet the needs of a diverse range of users. Read more >>

Clinically proven protection

The Woman’s Condom has undergone clinical research in several countries since 2004. Clinical studies confirm that the product is safe, acceptable, easy to use, and that it performs well. In comparative studies, some women have reported preferring the Woman’s Condom over other female condom products because it is easy to use. In addition, PATH and partners conducted qualitative assessments and market research to help set the stage for product introduction. Read more >>

A product development partnership to build sustainable markets for the Woman’s Condom

In 2008, PATH transferred production of the Woman’s Condom to the Dahua Medical Apparatus Co., Ltd. (DAHUA) of Shanghai, China. In 2011, PATH received funding from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support the Protection Options for Women Product Development Partnership (POW PDP) among DAHUA, CONRAD, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and PATH. From 2011 through 2015, this global partnership applied a total market approach to create sustainable markets for the Woman’s Condom. The project implemented a set of strategic, step-wise activities critical to introducing and building demand for this new product. This included supporting production scale-up and regulatory applications, conducting market research and market testing to prepare for early introduction and commercialization, building evidence through research, and conducting advocacy at the global and country levels to strengthen the enabling environment for female condoms in general, and the Woman’s Condom in particular. Country-specific work focused on China and South Africa. Funding for the POW PDP ended in December 2015.

The Woman’s Condom is approved in China, Europe, Malawi, South Africa, and Zambia, and in February 2016, it received World Health Organization/United Nations Population Fund prequalification.

To learn more about our POW PDP project activities, milestones, and outcomes, access our final reports at: http://www.womanscondompowpdp.com.

Our supporters

PATH received support from many donors to develop, validate, and build markets for the Woman’s Condom. We gratefully acknowledge support from USAID under the CONRAD program and the PATH HealthTech program, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Universal Access to Female Condoms Joint Programme, the Lemelson Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and others.

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