This Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) guidance document is an update of two previous FSRH guidance documents on Male and Female Condoms and Female Barrier Methods published in 2007.
The document provides evidence-based recommendations and good practice points for health professionals on the use of barrier methods to prevent pregnancy and/or reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The term ‘barrier method’ is used in the document to refer predominantly to male and female condoms, diaphragms and the contraceptive cap.
The main changes from previous guidance are updated information on the range of barrier methods available, reference to updated guidance on post-exposure prophylaxis after sexual exposure to HIV (PEPSE), and signposting to information on reckless transmission of STIs. Recommendations are based on the evidence available at the time of writing and on consensus opinion of experts. A key to the Grading of Recommendations, based on levels of evidence, is provided on the inside front cover of this document. Details of the methods used by the Clinical Effectiveness Unit (CEU) in developing this guidance are outlined in Appendix 1 and on the FSRH website (www.fsrh.org).
The recommendations should be used to guide clinical practice but they are not intended to serve alone as a standard of medical care or to replace clinical judgment in the management of individual cases.