The rubber vulcanization process was invented by Charles Goodyear in 1839, and patented in 1844. The first rubber condom was produced in 1855, and by the late 1850s several major rubber companies were mass-producing, among other items, rubber condoms.
The research is clear about the efficacy of condoms. Condoms are highly effective against the most dangerous of sexually transmitted infections—HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. They are also effective against unintended pregnancy as well as against gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. Condoms use is also associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer, an HPV-associated disease. It is vital that sexually active youth have access to condoms to protect their health and their lives. However, the last eight years have seen ultra-conservative, far-right ideologues attacking condoms and their effectiveness, while at the same time making the outrageous claim that providing young people with information about condoms leads them to have sex.
- According to the CDC, NIH, and all of the leading medical associations in this country, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV infection and reduce the risk of pregnancy and a number of sexually transmitted infections. Yet, the United States has spent over $1 billion in federal and state funds on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that suppress information about the health benefits of using condoms.
- Numerous studies have shown that providing young people with information about condoms does not lead to increased sexual activity. This is a fact.
- Abstinence is the only way to guarantee staying 100 percent safe. Yet, condoms are by far the best protection for anyone who is sexually active.
- More than 70 percent of school-based health centers in America are prohibited from providing condoms to sexually active students. Given the fact that each day more than 25,000 American youth get an STI, more than 2,000 become pregnant, and as many as 55 contract HIV, such policies defy common sense and sound public health practice.
- Clearly, it is time to get over any “condom phobia” and promote the health benefits of this effective and inexpensive medical device.
Male condoms are available without a prescription. They’re sold in many stores and from vending machines in some restrooms. Condoms might be less expensive or might be free at family planning clinics. School nurses and university health centers often have condoms available for free.
Finding a type of condom that works well for you can take a little trial and error. Fit is important. If it’s too tight, a condom is more likely to break. If it’s too loose, it might slip off. Some men find that condoms decrease sensation or are uncomfortable to wear. You might prefer a certain type of condom because it’s more comfortable for you or provides greater sensation during sex.
Some condoms are lubricated with nonoxynol-9, a substance that kills sperm (spermicide) and is meant to help prevent pregnancy. However, condoms without spermicide are a better option for several reasons:
- Spermicidal condoms don’t appear to be any more effective than other lubricated condoms at preventing pregnancy.
- Nonoxynol-9 might irritate or damage skin cells in the vagina or rectum. This could potentially increase the risk of getting an STI.
- Spermicide doesn’t help protect you or your partner against HIV/AIDS or other STIs.
- Spermicidal condoms cost more than other types of condoms and have a shorter shelf life.
Condom safety tips
Male condoms don’t last forever, and they have to be used properly to protect against pregnancy and STIs. Follow these tips for safe and effective condom use:
- Store condoms in a cool, dry place. Exposure to air, heat and light increases the chance that a condom will break. Don’t keep condoms in a billfold or back pocket for more than a month. Don’t store condoms in your glove compartment for an extended period of time. Friction and heat can cause condoms to break down and become less reliable.
- Check the expiration date. Don’t use a condom past its expiration date.
- Check condoms for damage. Look for brittleness, small tears or pinprick holes before using one.
- Be sure to use only water-based lubricants. Examples include Astroglide and K-Y jelly. If you use latex condoms, don’t use oil-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly, baby oil, mineral oil, olive oil and other cooking oils, whipped cream, cold cream, sunscreens, moisturizers, or lotions. They can weaken a latex condom and might cause it to break.
- Never reuse a condom. This increases the risk of pregnancy and passing on STIs.
- Use only a latex or polyurethane condom to prevent STIs. Lambskin condoms don’t protect against STIs as well as latex or polyurethane condoms do. Read the label on the package to see what the condom is made of and whether it’s labeled for STI prevention.
- Use a condom during any sexual activity. This will help protect you from STIs whether you have vaginal, oral or anal sexual contact.
What you can expect
It’s important to use male condoms carefully, correctly and consistently. Here’s how to correctly use a condom:
- Put on a condom before any sexual contact. Keep in mind, STIs can be passed on and pregnancy can occur before male sexual climax (ejaculation).
- Open the package carefully. Don’t use your teeth or fingernails.
- Apply lubricant outside of the condom. This might not be needed if you use a condom that’s pre-lubricated.
- Pull your foreskin back. This is only necessary if you’re not circumcised.
- Place the tip of the rolled-up condom over your penis. The penis should be erect before you put on the condom. The rolled rim should be on the outside. If you start to put on the condom and realize that the rolled side is on the inside, throw it away and use another condom.
- Gently press the tip of the condom to remove air. This isn’t necessary if the condom has a reservoir tip.
- Roll the condom down. Make sure it covers the entire penis, and remove any air bubbles.
- After sex, grasp the base of the condom before you remove it. This will prevent the condom from coming off before you pull away from your partner.
- Dispose of the condom in the trash. Don’t flush condoms down the toilet.
Are Condoms 100% Effective?
No type of condom prevents pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) 100% of the time. But if you and your partner are having sex, nothing protects against STDs better than a properly used condom. For those having sex, condoms must always be used to protect against STDs, even when using another method of birth control. They must be used correctly and must be used every time you have sex. Even when used correctly, condoms do not protect against infections spread from sores on the skin not covered by a condom (such as the base of the penis or scrotum).
What is an important benefit of using condoms?
Some advantages of using condoms: When used correctly and consistently, they are a reliable method of preventing pregnancy. They help to protect both partners from STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhoeic and HIV.
Who should use condoms?
Use of a condom can effectively reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, and it offers some protection against genital warts and herpes. There are male and female condoms, and they can be made from latex rubber, polyurethane, or lambskin. The male condom is more commonly used
What are three benefits of using condoms?
They are also effective against unintended pregnancy as well as against gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. Condoms use is also associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer, an HPV-associated disease.
Can we use condoms daily?
Male condoms are generally safe and effective. However, there are a few things you should consider: Condoms can trigger a latex allergy. Reactions to latex can include rash, hives, runny nose, and in severe cases tightening of the airways and loss of blood pressure.
Can you use condoms in water?
Water doesn’t have any effect on sperm, and it won’t have any effect on the condom you‘re using. If you have vaginal intercourse in the shower, using a condom is a good way to reduce the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.