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Q Health

QHealth: National Condom Month

Written by Peter Stoker

Happy February! I hope everyone has NOT given up on the New Year’s resolutions you set last month. Only 58 percent of Americans will maintain their resolutions through January [Statistic Brain, 2017]. Just so you know, I fall into the 42 percent of Americans that didn’t maintain though January. So here we go on to February, full-steam ahead and ready to take on more of what 2017 throws at us. Hopefully to not let it bog us down too much and to rise above the ashes (sometimes literally).

Anyhow, February is national condom month (go figure) and the week of Valentine’s Day being national condom week. So what is the deal with condoms? Why do we still talk about them, we’ve got things like PrEP to protect us?

We’ve all heard plenty of excuses as to why condoms are not used. They’re old school, they don’t feel as good or they’re out of date, however, condoms have been around for a long time, 3,000 B.C. perhaps. Condoms are 98% effective when used consistently and properly. That’s the catch; you have to use condoms consistently and properly in order for them to be effective. Just like PrEP; you have to take the medication in order for it to be effective. Condoms have come a long way, from the first ones being made of linen sheets to Goodyear rubber condoms. Condoms are now made to increase pleasure as well as provide protection.

As I teach people about condoms there are lots of things that they don’t realize. For instance, that wherever a condom doesn’t cover it doesn’t protect you. I know that may sound obvious, but think about it. If you are having sex with someone that has genital warts on their testes, the condom isn’t there so you’re exposing yourself to that infection. Also, if you’re having oral sex with someone most likely a condom is not being used and you’ve exposed yourself to a gamete of possible infections. Condoms are a great way to protect yourself if you’re having vaginal or anal sex, and ideally one would be used when performing oral sex too, but c’mon, who does?

So how do you properly use a condom? I know we all like to think we know how, but you’d be amazed that there are 8-steps!

      1. Have a condom.
      2. Check the expiry date and the air ‘pillow’ to make sure it’s not damaged.
      3. Open the condom without using a sharp object (teeth, knife, or chainsaw).
      4. Put the unwrapped condom on the tip of the erect penis (before inserting into the mouth, anus, or vagina).
      5. Hold the tip with one hand and roll it down the shaft with the other. *If you begin to roll and it doesn’t unroll easily, you might have it on wrong. Throw it away and start over*
      6. After sex, while still erect, hold the base of the condom and ‘peel’ it off from the base towards the tip.
      7. Wrap (or tie) the condom in tissue for cleanliness and throw it away in a garbage can. DO NOT FLUSH CONDOMS DOWN THE TOILET
      8. Thank your partner and show them the door.

So as we embark into the month of love where everything is geared toward sex and romance, let’s remember that condoms could be much worse.
Use a condom when having sex! Q

Information in this article was gathered from multiple sources and is a reflection of the author’s opinion only.

About the author

Peter Stoker

C. Peter STOKER, MPH, CHES, is a community health education coordinator, HIV outreach educator, epidemiologist for Salt Lake County Health Department. Information in these articles is gathered from multiple sources and are a reflection of the author’s opinion only.

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