Thirty-one million women want a method that is appropriate for infrequent sex, and 25 million women want a method they can use while breastfeeding, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The SILCS diaphragm is a new contraceptive method that can meet these needs.
As part of USAID’s Expanding Effective Contraceptive Options (EECO) project, we use social marketing to promote the use of the SILCS diaphragm. Created by PATH, the SILCS diaphragm is a new and unique non-hormonal, reusable barrier contraceptive.
A diaphragm is a small, shallow, cup-like product made out of silicone that rests inside the vagina. It forms a barrier, covering the cervix, to prevent contact between the sperm and egg. A diaphragm is inserted with every act of intercourse and works best to prevent pregnancy when coupled with a spermicide. After intercourse, the diaphragm should be left in place for at least six hours before being removed and should not be left in place for longer than 24 hours. The diaphragm is inserted and removed by the woman herself, creating a convenient contraceptive option for women.
The SILCS diaphragm is one-size-fits-most, eliminating the need for a pelvic examination and provider fitting, has dimples for easy gripping during insertion and has a fingertip dome that allows for easy removal. Each diaphragm can be used for up to two years before needing to be replaced.
Making a Difference
Over 220 million women have an unmet need for modern family planning and over 100 million women cite method-related reasons for non-use of modern contraceptives. USAID’s EECO project aims to fill this gap by providing new and improved contraceptive options and increase method choice.
Under the project, we conduct social marketing for the new SILCS diaphragm in Malawi and Zambia through our existing sexual and reproductive health networks. We also increase access to the SILCS diaphragm within the context of informed choice through training providers in service provision, product distribution and vouchers. Additionally, we create demand for the SILCS diaphragm through various communications channels including interpersonal communication sessions and mobile technology.