There has been great excitement in Uganda over the green light given by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology to what has become known as the panty condom. Made by a Columbian manufacturer, Innova Quality, it is a combination of lingerie and contraception.

The thong or G-string-style panty comes in nylon or cotton and has a slit-like opening that exposes the condom. The condom looks no different from the current male condom but the manufacturer says that it has been made from a thinner than usual layer, delivering a no-condom feel. The condom is anti-allergenic, pre-lubricated, transparent, odourless and strong. A woman can wear the panty all day long and, when it is time for action, she can “flip the slit”, says Dr Moses Muwonge, the Executive Director of SAMASHA Medical Foundation, a local non-profit that is promoting the condom. Once exposed, the condom unrolls on the penis during penetration. The panty condom will be sold with three additional condoms for subsequent use.

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The preliminary results of the Uganda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment Survey that was released last year showed that the prevalence of HIV among women between the ages of 15 to 24 was 7,6%, compared to males at 4,7%. This is the reason that the condom is in the form of a G-string – the aim is to appeal to this demographic.

The panty condom is a welcome departure from the average female condom: A 2009 situational analysis of female condom use in Uganda by that country’s Ministry of Health revealed that the price of the female condom, which is too high for many women to afford, was identified as a hindrance to its uptake and use. In comparison, the panty condom is cheaper: One pair of panties plus two condoms costs around $5, while a refill of three condoms costs $3,75.

Speaking on its other positive attributes, Dr Muwonge said: “The panty condom is made from a stronger material and allows for a change in position during intercourse, unlike the current female condom on the market. You can wear the thong all day long and when it comes to action, you don’t have to waste time putting it on.”

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The condom is likely to hit the Ugandan market later in 2018, after some months of testing. Once on the market, Muwonge anticipates that Uganda will be the African continent’s main supplier.