This week, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel will to decide whether a new female condom can adequately prevent pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, Reuters reports.

While previous female condoms were made from polyurethane, this new condom, the FC2 Female Condom, is made with a synthetic rubber called nitrile through a process similar to that of male condoms, which the manufacturer says will reduce its current cost. According to the article, current female condoms cost between $2.80 and $4 each compared with male condoms, which cost about 50 cents each and are more widely used.

The FC2 manufacturer, Female Health Co., says that that FDA approval could help boost sales of female condoms in the United States, which made up just 10 percent of the female condom's 34.7 million unit sales worldwide in 2008. The female condoms are mostly used in Africa, where public health agencies distribute them.

“We haven't been able to market the product,” said Mary Ann Leeper, an adviser and former president of Female Health Co. She added that the company seeks to partner with a male condom manufacturer or drugmaker invested in HIV awareness.