Female condoms 'rising in popularity'

Female condoms are rising in popularity among users and the trend is being driven by grassroots campaigns, new research has shown.

Carried out by the United Nations Population Fund - which counts reproductive health, population and development strategies and gender equality as its three core areas of work- the study revealed successful initiatives by governments and technical agencies are helping to improve access to the prophylactic.

The investigation demonstrated a number of countries are looking at different ways to overcome the taboos associated with contraception and are being creative in their efforts to better inform the general public about birth control.

Governments are "discovering that the female condom is a tool for women's empowerment, enabling women and adolescent girls to take the initiative to protect their own and their partners' health", the report's authors wrote.

One example of such promotion has been seen in Zimbabwe, where billboards, TV adverts and radio spots have all been employed to highlight the benefits of using female condoms.