Condom use by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
April 17 2015


A condom is a device, usually made of latex, or more recently polyurethane, that is used during sexual intercourse. A condom is used by the male on his penis to prevent pregnancy and/or transmission of sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV.


Condom Brands









Rough Rider




Condom use by young people
Social and cultural factors, not just unavailability or ignorance, influence why young people do not use condoms. Some sexually active under 25s associate condoms with a lack of trust, while others believe carrying them could imply sexual experience, which might be a plus for men but not necessarily for women.



Thai government has banned a line of condoms whose name translates as "Good Penetration," saying the suggestive label could draw youngsters into having sex earlier. The condoms are actually named "Tom Dundee" after the stage name of a popular country singer, but Culture Ministry officials said this was inappropriate and offended good norms and culture. "Dundee" in Thai means "Good Penetration." Dundee, whose real name is Puntiva Poomiprates, defended lending his stage name to the condom brand. He said he was merely following a government policy to promote safe sex in a country where over 500,000 people have HIV or AIDS, and indicators point to climbing infection rates among the young. In Thailand, condom producers have to seek approval from both the Health and Culture ministries.


Use in UK, England, Scotland, Wales
Even the few British teenagers who wear condoms do not use them effectively. A study says several eens admitted putting the condom on too late or taking it off too early. The three most common reasons for condom use were to prevent pregnancy, avoid making a mess and prolonging sex -- avoiding sexually transmitted diseases was barely mentioned. Of the 1,400 teens in the study, 373 said they had used a condom in their most recent sexual experience. Six percent said they put the condom on after vaginal penetration and an equal number said they continued penetrative sex after removing it. The study, published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, was prompted by the anomaly that while teenage pregnancies are falling, rates of sexually transmitted disease are rising.


Pleasure Enhancing Condoms?
Pleasure-enhancing condoms? The performance of SSL's Durex division had been driven by pleasure-enhancing condoms, such as Pleasuremax in the United States and Eastern Europe and the rollout of new vibrators. The Pleasuremax is a best-seller. Analysts at Cazenove said SSL had benefited from a strong relationship with U.S. retailer Wal-Mart. SSL's Australian competitor Ansell had issues with its U.S. manufacturing facilities, meaning it lost market share to both Durex and U.S. incumbent Trojan. In 2005, the first full year SSL sold vibrators and sex lubricants, total sales of such products exceeded expectations to reach 12 million pounds.


Female condom
Female condoms may be more prone to slipping or other technical difficulties than male versions are, but the two seem similarly effective at blocking semen. Mechanical problems are more common with female condoms than the male versions. Yet women are about as likely to be exposed to semen when using female condoms as they are when using male condoms. Semen exposure offers a way of measuring a condom's likelihood of protecting against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy. So the current findings suggest that male and female condoms provide comparable protection. One of the most common problems with the female condoms is that they tend to slip out. Other issues included "penis misrouting" around the side of the condom. While female condoms present certain mechanical problems, they are similar to the male version in protecting against STDs and pregnancy. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2007.


Female Health Co won U.S. approval in 2009 to market its newer, less expensive female condom, which could help it win over American women as well as boost use in developing countries. The company's FC2 Female Condom is made with a softer material for quieter use. Its original version failed to gain a foothold in the male condom-dominated U.S. marketplace in part because it was noisy to use as well as more expensive. Female Health's initial Female Condom was approved in 1993 to prevent pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases but has not been widely used in the United States, which made up just 10 percent of its 34 million unit sales in 2008. The product competes with other birth control methods, most notably male condoms, which can cost as little as 50 cents each amid a variety of competing brands. The original Female Condom costs between $3 and $4 a piece.


The Pope and condom by Catholic Church

A study commissioned by Pope Benedict on the use of condoms to fight AIDS has passed its first hurdle and is now being reviewed by top theologians for possible use in a Papal document. "This is something that worries the Pope a lot," said Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. The Catholic Church opposes the use of condoms and teaches that fidelity within heterosexual marriage, chastity and abstinence are the best ways to stop the spread of AIDS. The Catholic Church says promoting condoms fosters immoral and hedonistic lifestyles and behavior that will only contribute to its spread. It teaches that homosexual acts are sinful in the first place. "Following the wishes of Benedict, we carried out a careful study on condoms, both from a scientific and moral point of view," Lozano Barragan told a news conference. Lozano Barragan spoke on the day a United Nations report said HIV infections were on the rise in all regions and that nearly 40 million adults and children are infected worldwide. His department had completed a 200-page study on condoms and passed it on to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which would add its own theological and doctrinal opinions.


Sex Health. 2013. Council-supported condom vending machines: are they acceptable to rural communities?