Barriers to Female Condom Use among Undergraduate Health Science Students
Barriers to female condom use in Eswatini
The female condom (FC), also known as the femidom, has been on the market since 1993, however, its use remains limited in many parts of southern Africa, including in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). There is a dearth of literature on the reasons for the limited use of the FC, especially from the perspective of health science students who would otherwise be expected to be knowledgeable about and have favourable attitudes to it. The aim of this study was to explore and describe the barriers to FC use among undergraduate health science students at a selected tertiary institution in Eswatini. A qualitative, exploratory descriptive study was conducted among nine conveniently sampled, unmarried undergraduate students at a selected tertiary institution in the Hhohho region in Mbabane, Eswatini. Responses to an unstructured interview guide, using in-depth interviews were analysed thematically following Creswell’s steps of qualitative data analysis. Five themes emerged from the data: (1) inadequate knowledge about the FC, (2) the FC hinders sexual pleasure, (3) insertion of the FC is time-consuming and uncomfortable, (4) the FC is bigger than the vagina, and (5) fear of being labelled “promiscuous”. Generally, the participants stated that they did not use the FC because of societal myths. Therefore, there is a need to strengthen health education campaigns for the femidom to clear the myths and misconceptions that limit its use.