U.S. health officials on Wednesday authorized the first condoms specific to sex, hoping to encourage the use of this protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
Condoms were already widely used – and highly recommended – for anal sex, which induces a higher risk of transmission of diseases such as AIDS.
But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had not yet officially authorized any brand for that specific use, due to a lack of data. They were only approved for vaginal sex.
“FDA clearance of a condom specifically indicated, evaluated, and labeled for anal sex could increase the chance that a condom will be used during anal intercourse,” Courtney Lias, a health agency official, said in a statement.
Until now, studies conducted on anal condom use showed a “failure rate” higher than the 5% required, meaning that too many condoms slipped or broke.
But a new study conducted by independent researchers, and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), demonstrated a failure rate of less than 1%.
The condom, produced by the company Global Protection Corp, which will be marketed under the name of One Male Condom, is however no different from others. The best result is mainly due to the use of an adapted lubricant, which allows reducing friction. The use of a lubricant was therefore included by the FDA in its Wednesday decision.
About 250 men who have relationships with men and 250 who do so with women participated in the study.
I think most people would be surprised to learn that condoms are not approved for sex, Davin Wedel, president and founder of Global Protection Corp., said in a statement.
According to another study conducted by Emory University, 69% of men who have recurrent relationships with other men would be more likely to frequently use condoms if they carried the FDA seal for that use.
This new authorization will allow other manufacturers to file a similar application, the FDA said.
The One Male Condoms, identical to the “One” already sold by the company, will be available in three versions: standard, thin or tight, with 54 sizes available.