Home > Protect Yourself: The Female Condom
Vol. 7 Issue 1

Protect Yourself: A review of the female condom Nikki Maier, Taku River First Nation, Tlingit

Itís noisy, itís big, itís new. This is what I heard about the female condom (a.k.a. The Reality Condom) before I ever tried it. I have to agree itís big. In fact, itís so big it kind of scared me. But you know what? It is not at all bad it just takes a little getting used to is all. As for noise, I did not ? nd it altogether too noisy. Nope this condom was absolutely discreet, except for the ring hangs out of your vagina. through this next century and beyond.

The good part is that this condom can protect you not only from HIV, but also other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIís) such as the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and genital herpes because it covers your labia. To protect yourself from STIís it is important to use a condom properly.

The female condom has an open end and a closed end. Some people have referred to it as a Ďwind sockí like sheath. The closed end is inserted into the vagina much in the same way you would insert a tampon. The open end hangs out and covers the labia; thus, offering more protection from STIs like HPV and herpes than the traditional male condom. Also, since the female condom is made out of polyurethane it is a great alternative for those with latex allergies. Some people worry that the female condom looks funny, but I imagine that many people thought the same thing about the male condom when it ? rst came out. I think it looks kinda cool like a present, only with clear wrapping paper.

What other women say: A Toronto study gathered female participants and offered an unlimited supply of both female and male condoms. By the end of the study, 37% of the participants preferred the female condom over the male condom. Last but not least, offering a male partner a choice between the male and female condom increased the likelihood that people would choose to have protected sex.

A true story: A woman in Kelowna, BC was married for more than a decade. This week her husband tested positive for HIV. This is a woman who was married and thought she was safe from contracting HIV because she was in a monogamous relationship. Yet her husband was screwing around on her and having unprotected sex.

It just goes to show that you cannot trust your partner 100%. It is a sad fact. HIV is the virus that leads to AIDS. We know how small our communities are. We travel to protest camps, we pow wow, we go to conferences, and some of us have unprotected sex. Think about it: we have a high birth rate, and that means we are not protecting ourselves.

It is important to get tested for STIís like HIV. They estimate that of those who have HIV, one third are unaware of their infection. That means that 30% of infected individuals are infecting other people right now.

So if youíre having sex, protect yourself. If youíre one of the status card carrying Indians you can get a prescription from a doctor for a supply of female condoms. Condoms are covered for all card carriers. But if youíre non-status like me, or Metis, then look no further than the closest Friendship Centre, AIDS service organization, or Outreach Health Clinic where you can get free condoms. Otherwise, the Female Condom is available for approximately 3 for 10 bucks. Ask for the Female Reality Condom, it is unbelievable. You gotta try it.

It is never too late to practice safer sex. You are precious. If you have a hard time believing that, then do what I do and get a picture of yourself when you were a baby or a toddler and remind yourself to take care of that little kid inside you. You are sacred and we need all the healthy Indians to keep our communities going through this next century and beyond.

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