AEGiS-12IAC: Female condom re-use: assessing structural integrity after multiple wash, dry and re-lubrication cycles.

12th International AIDS Conference


Geneva, Switzerland - June 28-July 3, 1998


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Female condom re-use: assessing structural integrity after multiple wash, dry and re-lubrication cycles.

Int Conf AIDS 1998 Jun 28-Jul 3; 12:616 (abstract no. 33124)

McIntyre J, Pettifor A, Rees VH
Reproductive Health Research Unit, CH Baragwanath Hospital, Bertsham, South Africa.


INTRODUCTION: The female condom provides woman-controlled protection against HIV, STDs and pregnancy. Unfortunately, they are not widely available and expensive, resulting in some reports of women washing and reusing them. If re-use is safe it could make the product more affordable in developing countries.

METHODS: The structural integrity of the female condom was examined after multiple wash, dry and re-lubrication cycles. Seventy devices per variable were tested using the water leakage test (roll test), maximum pressure testing, and tensile seam testing. Devices were washed in a bucket with 5 L cold water (20 degrees C using different washing agents, patted dry with a towel and then re-lubricated with sunflower oil. The variables tested included: bar (toilet) soap, bleach, liquid detergent, liquid detergent and baby oil, liquid detergent and hot water (40 degrees C), and liquid detergent with bleach rinse. Devices were water leak tested after wash 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 10. Maximum pressure tests and tensile seam were done after wash 7 and 10.

RESULTS: The results of all tests were compared to FDA standards for the female condom (Max. Pressure = 48.00 mbar and Tensile Seam Strength = 10.3 Mpa). The water leakage test showed holes in 2/71 in the bar soap group. 1/71 in the bleach and none of the other tests. Maximum pressure was between 69 and 73 mbar in all groups. The tensile seam strength after washing and drying was above 14 Mpa in all groups.

CONCLUSIONS: From the results it can be concluded that washing, drying and re-lubricating the female condom up to ten time does not significantly alter the structural integrity of the device. Further microbiological and virological tests are required before re-use of the female condom can be recommended.


Keywords: AEGIS, Condoms, Female, Safe Sex, Lubrication, Contraceptive Devices, Female, HIV Infections, Pressure, Detergents, Developing Countries, Female, Human, Infant, Pregnancy, utilization, Ethics, ICA12KWDaegis,condoms,female,safesex,lubrication,contraceptivedevices,female,hivinfections,pressure,detergents,developingcountries,female,human,infant,pregnancy,utilization,ethics,ica12
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Copyright © 1998 - International AIDS Society (IAS). Reproduction of this abstract (other than one copy for personal reference) must be cleared through the IAS.