It’s the time of the year to celebrate one of the many symbols of freedom in our society: condoms.
Due to being safe, cost efficient, practical and easy to obtain, condoms are widely used across the world. The most popular type is the latex condom. For those allergic to latex, condoms are also made from sheep’s skin and thin plastic called polyurethane.
Condoms are no recent phenomenon. According to www.plannedparenthood.org, the first illustrations of condom usage were found in France and date back 12,000 to 15,000 years. Condoms were used in the 16th century to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections and in the 18th century to prevent pregnancies.
A study done among college students has concluded that most condom failure is a result of misuse, not breakage or tearing. The most common ways of misusing condoms are not leaving enough room at the tip of the condom to prepare for ejaculation and removing the condom before ejaculating, which defeats the entire purpose.
In the United States, condoms are likely to break 2 percent of the time and will prevent pregnancy 85 percent of the time. If used perfectly, it can prevent pregnancy 98 percent of the time.
In June of 2004, the Vatican published the paper Family Values versus Safe Sex, which stated that condoms allow the HIV virus to pass through the pores of latex condoms. This is not true.
According to www.bbc.co.uk, the author of the document stated that the virus is smaller than sperm and can therefore pass through condoms and transmit disease. The document states, “Leading people to think they are fully protected is to lead many to their death.” However, this information was cited after studying the transmission of other viruses, some of which are 100 million times smaller than the HIV virus. Therefore, the results of the Vatican’s documents were manipulated. They contradict both the World Health Organization’s views as well as those of the U.S. National Institute of Health.
Penny Hitchcock, Chief of the STD Branch in the U.S. National Institute of Health from 1992 to 2001, stated on bbc.org that, “The data are consistent. There are no holes in condoms that present a risk of infection.”
She added, “For the church to not support the use of condoms to prevent infection is very detrimental to our controlling the epidemic.”
Condoms are also highly reliable in preventing the transmission of several viral infections and STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, syphilis, hepatitis B, cytomegalovirus, genital warts and genital herpes.
For optimal usage, condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place. And no, that doesn’t include wallets. A new condom has to be used each time, from start to finish. Latex condoms are not recommended for anal intercourse because they are likely to break.
When shopping for a condom, one should look for a label that mentions disease prevention; otherwise, it may not protect you. For the most protection, use a latex condom with spermicide.