National Condom Week brings promotion of the female condom

The Peer Educators Advocating Campus Health group gave out bags of free condoms and lubricant this week as part of National Condom Week.

PEACH, a peer program dedicated to promoting positive health decision in nutrition and sexuality, offered students bags including instructional sheets for sexual health.

According to PEACH volunteer Laurel Stephens, National Condom week began in Berkeley and intentionally corresponds with Valentine’s Day.

Participating organizations, including the LOVE organization, provide free condoms to the SF State health center.

“LOVE organization provides condoms to groups in order to prevent HIV,” said PEACH volunteer Lauren Miner, 20.  “You can pick up free condoms off of the box on the wall by the Family Pact room in the health center.”

One of the condoms that the student health services offers but was not included in the condom bag is the lesser-known female condom.

“The FC and FC2 are the female condoms we offer. People had problems with the FC because it sounds like a trash bag,” Miner said. “The FC2 feels more realistic, conducts heat, and is less trash-baggy.”

As part of National Condom week this year the San Francisco Department of Public Health along with Female Health Company, the manufacturer of FC2 condoms, have launched a citywide campaign endorsing the female condom.

The female condom is latex and has two rings on each end. One end is inserted into the vagina, and the other end lays over the pubic area with an opening for insertion.

PEACH volunteer Laurel Stephens, 20, thinks that the female condom isn’t as popular because it is more invasive.

“Not very many women are comfortable putting something inside of themselves,” she said.

Stephens said female condoms are better as a barrier method of protection than traditional condoms.

“Since they go on the outside they protect from skin-to-skin contact against herpes or sores,” she said.

PEACH volunteer Nancy Conde said female condoms have benefits, although she understands hesitation of using them.

“I think people get scared of it, it looks intimidating, and I think it’d be noisy. But I’m glad it’s there,” Conde said. “It’s good if it’s hard for you to negotiate condoms with your partner. It gives women control.”

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