From February 14th until February 21st many health organizations are celebrating National Condom Week. Designed to coincide with Valentine’s Day each year, this event is meant to help build awareness among young people about the benefits of practicing safe sex. The American Sexual Health Association, or ASHA, will be offering several online articles and demonstrations throughout social media to help educate America’s youth on both male and female condoms.
One great program that will be making active strides to help build awareness for proper condom usage is the Great American Condom Campaign, or GACC. This youth-led campaign provides more than one million Trojan brand condoms to students on college and university campuses all week. In addition to passing out protection, students help to educate their peers on sexual and reproductive health issues. Last year alone, GACC reached young people at 1,108 public and private schools across the United States and its territories.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the use of latex condoms when participating in any sexual activity to help stop the spread of STDs. Remember to use condoms correctly in order to take full advantage of their high level of effectiveness. Condom should be used for every act of vaginal, anal or oral intercourse.
Do you know how to use a condom correctly?
When using a male condom, follow these steps. Before engaging in sexual activity, put the condom on the tip of the erect penis with the rolled side down. Make certain to leave enough room between the top of the penis and the reservoir tip of the condom. Then, roll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis. After ejaculation, and before the penis is no longer erect, carefully withdraw. Dispose of the condom by wrapping it in a tissue and throwing it in the trash.
When using a female condom, follow these steps. Carefully open the package containing the female condom in order to avoid any accidental damage to the device. It is important not to use a scissors or knife while opening as these can often create tears or rips. Next, hold the condom at the closed end. The open end of the device should be hanging downward. Grab the flexible ring and squeeze so that the device becomes long and narrow. Move into a comfortable position by raising your leg, sitting or lying down. Then, gently insert the inner ring into the vagina or anus. Move the inner ring up and back into the vaginal canal. This moves the female condom into the proper place for maximum protection. Make sure to push the condom as far as it will go in order to prevent damage. The outer, open end rim will remain outside of the vagaina. Once you have done this, the female condom is ready for use.
If the condom breaks at any point during sex, you should stop immediately. The condom will no longer be effective once it has broken. Remove the condom and replace it with a new, unused condom before continuing. Lastly, it is important to only use one condom at a time. If you use two condoms at the same time the chances of breakage will increase.
Keep in mind that even when using a condom it is still possible to contract an STD. Some STDs, such as trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis are curable while others such as herpes, hepatitis or HIV are not. If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to an STD, you should have STD testing performed. This is the best way to know the current status of your sexual health.