February is National Condom Month in the USA. The awareness initiative originally started on campus at the University of California, but has grown into a national month-long event, focusing on educating teens, young adults – and even mature adults – about the risks associated with unprotected sex, and the benefits of using condoms.
When used correctly, condoms are considered 98% effective at preventing pregnancy, and are the only contraceptive method that provides STI protection. They’re also inexpensive, easy to access, and highly effective, so we wanted to dedicate this post to everyone’s best foil-packaged little friend.
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Condoms have been around for thousands of years. In fact, the earliest known depiction of a man using a condom is a 12-thousand year old cave wall painting in France.
Condoms have come a long way. In the early 1800s they were made from vulcanized rubber, were designed to be washed a reused, and had to be fitted by a doctor. Today they come in a range of brands, sizes, textures and colors.
Latex condoms form an impermeable barrier to sperm and STI pathogens.
Condoms provide different levels of risk reduction for different STIs, but condoms are the most effective means of preventing STIs spread through bodily fluids, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV.
Condoms can reduce the risk of contracting STIs spread via skin-to-skin contact, such as herpes, but only if the sores are covered by the condom.
Condom use has been shown to reduce the risk of HPV (human papillomavirus) related health issues such as genital warts, cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer.
In 2003, the Guilin Latex Company made the world’s largest condom – 260 feet tall and 330 feet around.
- Keep your condoms in a cool, dry place to prevent them from deteriorating
- Check the expiration date on your condoms before you use them. Expired condoms can become dry, which can cause them to split or break more easily.
- Open your condom packets carefully, and never use your teeth to rip open the foil, as this can tear the condom.
- Use water-based lubricants with condoms, since oil-based lubes can cause latex condoms to break.
Want to read about female condoms? Check out The Female Condom: A Review for info and tips on use.