Background Studies around the world have reported about the use of female condom (FC) for anal sex by men who have sex with men (MSM). No studies have been conducted in India about FC use for anal sex. This study was designed to know the reasons, perceived benefits, concerns and other issues around FC use in Andhra Pradesh where India HIV/AIDS Alliance implementing a HIV prevention program.
Methods A qualitative study was carried out among MSM at three sites, selected using purposeful sampling method. Total eight Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with 83 participants and 18 in-depth interviews (IDI) were conducted. IDI respondents were selected by purposeful sampling method from the self-reported FC users. A structured questionnaire was used for the study.
Results In two sites, 18 out of 53 respondents (34%) reported using FC while none of the respondents at the third site had heard of using FC for anal sex. The practice is mainly due to peer influence within the local sexual networks. The decision to use FC is made by the recipient partner who is influenced by various factors like difficult partners/clients who don't like to wear male condom and in anticipation of having sex with more than one partner or group sex etc. A few MSM (11%) are using single condom with multiple clients. The perceived benefits with FC use include sense of security, having control, client satisfaction hence better income, and they can use a single condom for multiple encounters with multiple partners. Participants reported frequent problems with FC use, particularly rectal bleeding (100%), discomfort (72%) and slippage (28%). Despite bleeding from anus on first time use, majority (83%) of them said they will continue to use FC. One of the myths observed during the FGDs is the use of spit with mud as lubricant which was attributed to better satisfaction due to the presence of finer granules in the mud.
Conclusions The study clearly shows that despite frequent problems with FC use, considerable number of MSM (83%) prefer to continue using FC. Therefore the need for modifying condom design, conducting training, and research on safety outcomes becomes absolutely imperative. IEC (Information, Education & Communication) materials need to be designed to spread the message on proper use and disposal of FC, and also to address the use of single condom with multiple partners. Using of mud with spit as lubricant needs to be explored further to better understand its consequences.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.