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  1. 1

    Can the female condom be used safely more than once?

    Family Health International [FHI]

    [Research Triangle Park, North Carolina], FHI, [2007]. [3] p. (FHI Research Briefs on the Female Condom No. 3)

    The female condom is more expensive than the male condom. If the female condom can be used safely more than once, the cost of each use would decline. Studies have found that the device remains structurally sound after repeated washings and reuse, and that a one-minute soak in a 1-to-20 dilution of bleach in water effectively inactivates the organisms that cause gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and HIV infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to recommend the use of a new male or female condom for every act of sexual intercourse where there is risk of an unplanned pregnancy or of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection, but WHO also stated in July 2002 that "the final decision on whether or not to support reuse of the female condom must ultimately be taken locally." Because some women may not have access to bleach, USAID supported additional research to assess the safety and feasibility of cleaning used female condoms with soap and water and eliminating the bleach disinfection step. One study, conducted by FHI, tested a solution of dish detergent and water based on volumes typically used to wash dishes: 7.5 milliliters of detergent per one liter of water, or about two squirts of detergent in a basin of water. It found that the dish detergent and water was just as effective as the 1:20 bleach solution in removing the organisms that cause gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes and HIV infection from the surfaces of both new and pre-washed, relubricated condoms.
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  2. 2
    Peer Reviewed

    Genital human papillomavirus infections and cancer: memorandum from a WHO Meeting.

    World Health Organization [WHO]


    Cervical cancer ranks as the 2nd most frequent cause of cancer in women. Research demonstrates that infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV) leads to cervical cancer. The clinical HPV lesion in both sexes is the pointed wart like tumor called condyloma acuminatum. Detecting subclinical lesions varies, however, based on the genital organ and on the methods of examination. Several types of HPV infect anogenital epithelia and the resultant disease is partially determined by HPV type. In vitro methods to detect HPV do not exist, so laboratory personnel must depend on biochemical diagnostic procedures--molecular hybridization and serological procedures. HPV lesions, especially HPV- 16 and HPV-18, may turn into carcinomas depending on the activation or inactivation of some unknown genes perhaps influenced by tobacco smoking, oral contraceptives, other genital infections, or other unknown cofactors. Clinicians need to realize the potential gravity of HPV infection including the pathogenesis of lesions and its transmission through sexual contact. They must also be able to perform those diagnostic procedures that can detect HPV infection. Treatment of HPV lesions (e.g., cryosurgery, cautery, etc.) aims to either cure a repulsive, infectious, yet uncomplicated condition or prevent invasive cancer if HPV is connected with intraepithelial neoplasia. The results of the few well controlled studies of treatment of anogenital HPV- induced lesions show that 15-60% of lesions return with 3 months of treatment. Researchers must discover if humoral immunity can protect against HPV infection, and if it can, a vaccine using purified structural proteins should quickly be developed and approved.
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