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(BPT) - Thousands of travel-associated cases of the Zika virus have been reported all over the United States, and new cases are being diagnosed daily. They’ve also been reported in dozens of foreign countries around the globe such as Germany, Spain, Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea and Singapore, among others.
Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and there is increasing evidence indicating a correlation between Zika and babies born with microcephaly, a condition characterized by significantly smaller than normal head size. Doctors have also found other problems in pregnancies and among fetuses and infants infected with Zika before birth. In addition, it’s been suggested that Zika can be linked to an increase in Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults.
While most people are aware that Zika is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, what is less known is that the virus can also be passed through sexual contact, even if the infected person doesn’t show any symptoms.
Female condoms can provide protection against Zika
No drugs are currently available to treat Zika, but President Obama is urging Congress to approve funding that will allow the development of diagnostic tools and vaccines to solve the Zika problem. In the meantime, the FC2 Female Condom(R) provides dual protection for prevention of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections such as Zika.
The FC2 is a thin, soft, loose-fitting sheath. Made from non-latex nitrile material, it has flexible inner and outer rings that hold it in place. It has been approved by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Union, and national health agencies in countries such as India, South Africa and Brazil.
The FC2 is being distributed in “Zika prevention kits” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Planned Parenthood and other organizations in a variety of locations, including the District of Columbia, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and Brazil.
In fact, the latest version of the CDC’s Clinical Guidance for Healthcare Providers for Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus expands the definition of sexual exposure to Zika to include sex without a barrier to protect against infection — including female condoms — with any person who has traveled to or lives in an area with Zika.
“Female condoms are an easy, convenient way to prevent the spread of Zika, which is why they’re an integral part of the CDC’s prevention kits and are specifically mentioned in the CDC’s guidance to health care providers,” says Dr. Leah S. Millheiser, director of the female sexual medicine program at Stanford University. “Just as importantly, they are a great way for women everywhere to take control of their own sexual health, helping prevent other sexually transmitted diseases and infections like HIV and syphilis, as well as unwanted pregnancies.”
Other helpful tips
In addition to regular use of the FC2 Female Condom, here are a few other tips to help prevent Zika:
* Use insect repellent with an active ingredient such as DEET or picaridin — and don’t forget to reapply as directed.
* Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when possible, and spray your clothing with permethrin (do not spray directly on your skin).
* Cover cribs, strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
* Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.
* Ensure screens on windows and doors provide adequate coverage, and are free of rips and tears.
* Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out items that hold water.
For more information on how the FC2 Female Condom can help prevent the Zika virus, and to purchase the FC2 Female Condom, visit http://amzn.to/2dfmXLg.