Background HIV prevention success requires a number of sustainable, specific and inter-sectorial actions, among which is expanded access to inputs such as female condoms. Female condoms expand the strategies to fight the feminization of AIDS and unplanned pregnancies. Brazil has increased the purchase of these condoms from 2 million per year to 50 million units per year. Considering the importance of adapting strategies regarding female condom use to Brazilian reality, a qualification and awareness-raising process for the use and distribution of female condoms to users and professionals was developed in 2012 with the purpose of reducing gender inequalities and ensuring sexual and reproductive rights.
Methods Pilot workshops were conducted in three Brazilian state capitals (Porto Alegre, RS; São Paulo, SP; Brasília, DF) using focal group methodology and participant observation. The groups consisted of: managers and professionals from government programmes, young and adult female users of basic healthcare units, young and adult women living with HIV/AIDS, sex workers, and injectable drug users. This study attempted to obtain information for the formulation of a communication strategy for promoting and increasing accessibility to and usage of female condoms, while concurrently training participants in the implementation of strategic actions based on their own experiences.
Results Some of the strategic issues concerning female condom adherence pointed out by the groups were: knowledge of the input’s effectiveness, the need for men’s participation, erotization strategies, and use by older women (who also aided in the development and promotion of information materials).
Conclusion The groups organised were essential for improving female condom access and usage strategies and in promoting women’s human rights, especially with regard to the exercise of their own sexuality.
- Female condom