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Health Advocates Tout New Model Of Female Condom

"But if presented in the right way, many women do like it," Hoffman said. "To find these people and help them and train them, you need systematic programming, which costs money."

Resistance is less of a problem in some developing nations. The U.N. Population Fund, government agencies and nonprofits are aggressively promoting female condoms in places such as Brazil, Ghana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Women's groups in Zimbabwe collected more than 30,000 signatures demanding access to the female condom. In Ghana, nonprofits say more than 10,000 people have attended training programs that teach women how to insert female condoms ¿ they require careful instruction to be used properly ¿ and how to negotiate with their male partners.

"The mindset is changing, but there are still a lot of challenges," said Bidia Deperthes, the Population Fund's HIV technical adviser for condoms. "Accessibility is still minimal. There's a huge demand, and we're not meeting it."

Deperthes hopes that with FDA approval of the FC2, the number of female condoms distributed globally could climb to 50 million this year. If the numbers keep rising, she said, the cost to public-sector distributors for each FC2 could drop as low as 25 cents.

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