Food and Drug Administration, Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices Panel
of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee
December 11th, 2008
Good afternoon. My name is Dr. Beth Jordan. I am an internist, formerly of the Mayo Clinic, and I currently serve as the medical director of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP).
For nearly 50 years, ARHP has established itself as the leading source for trusted medical education and information on reproductive and sexual health. ARHP is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education to health care providers through a variety of educational programs, meetings, and publications. We advocate for evidence-based clinical education, provider training, and patient counseling to ensure the best quality patient care and health outcomes. Our membership is composed of 11,000 professionals who provide reproductive health services or education, conduct research, or influence reproductive health policy.
Because everyone’s needs are unique ARHP supports the availability of as many safe and effective contraceptive methods as possible. We believe this is critical for good health care globally. I am here to express ARHP’s support for any and all safe and effective contraceptive methods for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS. ARHP is pleased at the potential for a new and more cost effective version of the female condom.
The female condom holds great potential for pregnancy prevention and STI/HIV prevention in the United States and has been successfully introduced in many countries around the world. Female condoms are the only existing female-initiated and controlled HIV prevention method. When used consistently and correctly, female condoms offer between 90-97% risk reduction of HIV infection. In addition to serving as a safe and effective method protecting against HIV, STIs, and pregnancy, studies show that effective promotion and use of the female condom results in a significant increase in the total number of protected sex acts between partners.
The female condom offers numerous benefits: its use doesn’t rely on the assistance of a health care provider, it is immediately reversible, and has few to no side-effects. Like any contraceptive method, with solid education from a health care provider or other trusted source, a female condom can be used very effectively. Because it remains the only female controlled HIV prevention tool, women who can’t negotiate condom use with their male partners will especially benefit from the availability of a female condom.
Making new safe and effective contraceptive technologies available, and prioritizing provider training and patient education on these methods, is paramount in helping women and men plan their families. Because everyone’s contraceptive needs are unique, we support the availability of all safe and effective options.