CONDOMS are the simplest yet most effective method you can use to protect yourself not just against unintended pregnancy, but also against a variety of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
A condom is a flexible pouch made of rubber or plastic which acts as a physical barrier that stops bodily fluids, including semen, vaginal fluids and blood, from passing from one person to another during sex. Condoms are cheap, easy to use and available for sale at pharmacies, supermarkets and convenience stores. You may be able to get free condoms from your local clinic or hospital. While abstinence (not having any sex at all) is, of course, the only way that is guaranteed to be 100 percent safe, condoms offer by far the best protection for anyone who is sexually active and wants to practice safer sex. Condoms are highly effective against the most dangerous STIs, including HIV, the virus that causes Aids. Scientists have shown that using a condom during sex means that you are about 10 000 times less likely to contract HIV than you would be if you had sex without one. Condoms are also very successful against other STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, genital herpes and syphilis, and they have been linked with a lower rate of cervical cancer, a disease that is associated with the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus and the genital warts it produces. Surveys have shown that people who use condoms find their sexual experiences just as enjoyable as those who don’t.
HOW TO USE A CONDOM
For them to be effective, it is crucial that you use condoms consistently and correctly:
¯ Make sure that you choose the right kind of condom. Pick condoms made of latex (rubber), or, if you are allergic or sensitive to latex, a plastic called polyurethane. Do not use ‘natural’ (sheepskin) condoms as they will not protect you against STIs.
¯ Condoms have a shelf life and never use an expired condom.
¯ You should always use a condom that is big enough to cover the erect (hard) manhood completely.
WHAT WILL BREAK A CONDOM
¯ It’s best to keep condoms in a dry, cool place out of direct sunlight, such as a drawer in a bedside table.
¯ You must never re-use a condom.
¯ It’s a good idea to use a lubricant together with a condom, but be sure to only apply water-based lubricants and never ones that are oil-based, such as Vaseline, baby oil, hand or body lotions as these products will weaken and break the condom.
¯ Open the condom sachet carefully. Don’t use sharp fingernails, scissors, teeth or other pointy objects.
¯ If the condom feels sticky, brittle or looks discoloured, use a new one.
¯ Gently pinch the tip of the condom between the thumb and index finger of one hand, place it against the manhood and use your other hand to unroll it all the way to the base. Keep pinching the tip to leave a space for semen to collect.
After ejaculation and before the manhood gets soft, grip the rim of the condom at the base of the manhood firmly and withdraw. Once the manhood is withdrawn, pull off the used condom being cautious not to allow any semen to spill out. Tie off the open end with a knot to prevent spillage, wrap the condom in a tissue and throw it into a garbage bin where other people will not come into contact with it. Do not throw used condoms into the toilet. Wash your hands with soap and water.