Female Condom and Male Condom Failure Among Women at High Risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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The objective of this study was to study the frequency and determinants of breakage and slippage during female and male condom use.


The goal of this study was to determine condom breakage and slippage rate.


We conducted a 6-month prospective follow-up study of women attending 2 sexually transmitted disease clinics. Breakage and slippage rates were computed. Logistic regression was used to evaluate baseline characteristics and time-dependent behaviors.


A total of 869 women used condoms in 20,148 acts of intercourse. Breakage was less common for female condoms (0.1%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.05–0.21) than for male condoms (3.1%; 95% CI, 2.80–3.42). Slippage was more common for female condoms (5.6%; 95% CI, 5.10–6.13) than for male condoms (1.1%; 95% CI, 0.90–1.28). Rates significantly decreased with use and increased with number of previous failures. From first use to >15 uses, combined failure rate fell from 20% to 1.2% for female condoms (P <0.0001) and 9% to 2.3% for male condoms (P <0.01).


Both condoms may provide good protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Experience determines success with either condom.

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