Safe Is Sexy, Use a Condom

It’s the only contraceptive that prevents transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

One of the birth control methods that is made known at a very early age to prevent a pregnancy, is the male condom. Although there’s also the female condom, the most common is the male one for being accessible, affordable, don’t require medical prescription and it’s easy to use. 

However, the correct and constant use of this contraceptive method is a great ally in order to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI), and even the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Although it’s not a 100% full proof protection to prevent STIs, its effectiveness for prevention is 95%.

According to UNAIDS, it’s estimated that in 2013, approximately 2.1 million people were infected with HIV and 500 million people contracted STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis or trichomoniasis. Aside from the nearly 80 million unwanted pregnancies because of lack of birth control. 

Condoms and its effectiveness for HIV prevention

The correct use of the condom is a tried and effective method in order to prevent HIV infection between men and women. In order for achieve the protective effect from the condom, it’s important to place it correctly, since its incorrect use could cause the condom to slide off or break, thus reducing its protective effect. 

Using condoms with lubricants reduce the probability of it breaking during the sexual act. However, it is important to consider not using oil based lubricants, such as Vaseline, since it could damage the condoms. If the condom is not lubricated enough, you can add a water based lubricant such as silicone, glycerin or K-Y gelatin.

It’s important to properly remove the condom once you have ejaculated. In this case, the man must grab the condom by the base to ensure it doesn’t slide off. In case of having sex once again, use a new one.   

Condoms have very little probability of producing side effects

It’s unlikely that the latex condom will cause any irritation. Although it’s not discarded that people with strong allergies may produce some sensibility to this material. At times, the lubricant may also produce some irritation. 

In case this happens, you could try plastic condoms. One option would be the female condom, mad from soft plastic like polyurethane, polyisoprene, and nitrile which don’t have latex. 

The female condom completely covers the vagina, using it correctly and consistently, it protects both from pregnancy, as well as sexually transmitted infections and HIV. 

How to use the female condom

Once you remove the condom from its packaging, add extra lubricant on the inside and outside of its rings. Proceed to insert the condom in your vagina, you could be sitting down with your knees apart or on your feet raising one of them onto a chair; next, grab the condom with the wide end facing down, press the ring with your thumb and middle finger, use your other hand to open the labia of your vagina and insert the narrow end of the condom.

Once the narrow end of the condom has been inserted, use your index finger to introduce the rest of it into the vagina. Make sure the condom doesn’t get twisted inside the vagina, in case this happens, you must remove it immediately and try again. 

After your partner ejaculates and pulls out, you must press and twist the wide end of the condom so the sperm may stay inside of it. 

What you need to know about Panama and the use of the condom

According to the National Survey on Sexual and Reproductive Health in Panama (2014-2015), 39.7% of men use a condom in their first sexual relation, while 26.4% of women do. Out of this percentage of women, the survey shows that 11.2% of single women use a condom and only 2.9% of women who are married or living with a partner use it. 

In the document, it was taken into account which people acquire the condom for protection against HIV/AIDS, data shows that 85.9% of men use it as prevention for this disease, while 81% or women know about it. Only 90% of women between the ages of 15 to 39 years old, use condoms to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS and 80% of men do. 

The knowledge of using condoms to avoid HIV/AIDS in Panama, is greater in urban residence areas with 80% in total of men and women, than in rural areas with just 70%. 

Recommendations for the use of the female condom

  1. Female and male condoms are not to be used at the same time, friction between them may cause them to break or slide off. 
  2. Avoid opening the wrapping with your nails or teeth.
  3. Do not use Vaseline as a lubricant, it might break the latex.
  4. In case of it breaking or tearing during the sexual act, remove it and introduce a new one immediately. 
  5. Keep it close, this way you’ll have it with you when you need it and you won’t be tempted to having unprotected sexual relations. 
  6. Remove tampons before introducing the condom.
  7. Use it only once, you should never re-use the same one under any circumstances.

Recommendations for the use of the male condom

  1. Keep it close, this way you’ll have it with you when you need it and you won’t be tempted to having unprotected sexual relations.
  2. Use it only once, you should never re-use the same one under any circumstances.
  3. Keep your condoms in a fresh and dry place, away from sun and heat.
  4. If you keep it in your wallet, try not to keep it there for long periods of time. If this is the case, replace them frequently. 

The condom is a great ally, both for preventing an unwanted pregnancy, and to avoid getting any sexually transmitted infection or HIV. Make this a part of your life and you will have more life to live, remember that “safe is sexy”.

Sources: 

https://www.unaids.org/es/frequently-asked-questions-about-hiv-and-aids
https://www.unaids.org/es/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2015/july/20150702_condoms_prevention
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/es/temas-de-salud/anticonceptivos/el-condon/cuales-son-las-desventajas-de-los-condones
https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/article/004001.htm
https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/article/004002.htm