Valentine’s Day is generally a day to spread adoration to loved ones. But it can also run the risk of spreading more than that. This is why Valentine’s Day was picked to coincide with National Condom Day.
National Condom Day is a time to promote the use of condoms and educate others about the importance of practicing safe, consensual sex. Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are a vital part of reducing the risk of STD and HIV transmission. Currently there are a few types of barrier methods that are commonly used: the external (“male”) condom, the internal (“female”) condom, and dental dams.
Condoms are not just a way to reduce unintended pregnancy, they also provide a level of protection against STDs that are transmitted by genital fluids, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and HIV. According to the CDC, latex condoms provide an essentially impermeable barriers to particles the size of STD pathogens. To highlight the impact condoms have on transmission rates, data presented at the 2018 International AIDS Conference (Amsterdam, Netherlands) shows that promotion of condoms has prevented an estimated 50 million new HIV infections since the onset of the HIV epidemic 30 years ago.
Here are some important tips for using condoms consistently and correctly:
- The very first thing to check on any condom is the expiration date and if there is any damage or defects to the condom. Should you find a defect, discard the condom and use a damage-free one.
- A new condom should be used every time you have sex (vaginally, anally, or orally) throughout the entire sex act (from start to finish).
- If you feel the condom break at any point during sexual activity, stop immediately, remove the broken condom and put on a new one.
- If using a condom during vaginal or anal sex, ensure it is properly lubricated. Use a water-based lubricant for latex condoms. Oil-based lubricants can weaken latex and cause breakage.
Don’t be afraid to start the condom conversation with your partner! Clear communication is vital to a healthy relationship.
Caring Communities offers free condoms! Feel free to stop by
our Hazleton, Bloomsburg, or Wilkes-Barre offices any weekday from
8:30am-4:30pm to pick up your free condoms!