February 12, 2021
From February 14-21 we celebrate National Condom Week; the perfect reason to talk to those around you about the importance of using condoms to prevent both STIs and unplanned pregnancies. Because only internal or external condoms protect from both. When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective.
Available everywhere from bathroom vending machines to drug stores, from health centers to the internet, and next to the register at the convenience store down the street, condoms are a bright spot of accessibility in the world of birth control. And, in addition to being easy to find, on average they cost only $1 to $2 per condom. Many health centers even provide them for free!
Using condoms allows people to take responsibility for their own protection. Yet, we learned that even as sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates increase, 60% of those surveyed said that they rarely or never use condoms. They said they didn’t use condoms because they weren’t worried about STIs, their partner didn’t insist that they used one, or because they hate throwing them away.
February is National Condom Month, the perfect time to highlight condoms as an accessible, affordable birth control option (that doesn’t require a prescription) for all people. Available everywhere from bathroom vending machines to drug stores, from health centers to the internet, and next to the register at the convenience store down the street, condoms are a bright spot in the world of birth control.
And with reasonable access to the full range of birth control methods out of reach for over 19 million women of reproductive age living in the US who are in need of publicly funded contraception, it’s more important than ever to remind folks that condoms are a great option for birth control, no matter who you are or who you’re having sex with.
Even for those using another form of birth control, such as the IUD or the pill, to prevent pregnancy, condoms and internal condoms are the only methods that also protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)! When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective. We learned that even as STI rates increase, 60% of those surveyed said that they rarely or never use condoms, highlighting a need for condom education. Let us take this opportunity to clear up some stereotypes that linger around having and using condoms:
Condoms are a perfectly acceptable method for preventing pregnancy.
Condoms don’t have to be viewed solely as a back-up method. There are lots of folks who use condoms as their primary form of birth control. Because condoms are hormone-free and have very little to no side effects, they are one of the most popular types of birth control out there. There is no hierarchy of birth control based on effectiveness or longevity. What matters most is how the individual feels about how their method meets their expectations for their lifestyle and their body.
Everyone should feel empowered to keep condoms on hand.
Just because a person has condoms, it doesn’t mean they are actively having sex. Most condoms don’t expire for a few years, so keeping a few on hand for oneself or to give to others is just common sense. And it’s not just folks with penises that should feel empowered to keep a supply of condoms or grab them off the shelves. Having condoms is an acknowledgement that people have sex, and that you are taking control of your sexual health!
People across the gender spectrum should use condoms.
It’s not just straight, cis couples that need to use condoms. Wherever a person falls on the gender spectrum—transgender, cisgender, or gender nonconforming—anyone may have birth control needs. Like cisgender people, transgender and gender nonconforming people are sexually diverse and may be at risk for unplanned pregnancy. And no matter how folks identify or who their partner is, being sexually active puts everyone at risk for contracting STIs.
Condom usage has nothing to do with relationship status.
Condoms aren’t just for people who are having casual sex with multiple partners. And even if someone is having monogamous sex or is using a back-up method of birth control, condoms can be an important tool for maintaining control. For some people, a physical barrier can also be an emotional boundary. There are lots of reasons why people use the method they do—and sometimes those reasons have little to do with statistics or effectiveness. Wanting to use condoms for any reason needs to be respected in a relationship.
Condoms come in hundreds of shapes and sizes, with lube and without. They’re easy to find, cheap, don’t require a prescription, and offer protection against STIs and unplanned pregnancy. Find the right condom for you and your sex life, and make some love.
What can you do to help young people increase their condom usage?
If you’re a provider, talk to your young patients about how to properly use a condom and the importance of protecting themselves from STIs. In our survey we also learned that 88% of survey respondents never protect themselves during oral sex. So, don’t forget to talk to them about dental dams or condoms that may be more palatable.
If you’re a champion to a young person, a parent, older sibling, mentor, or teacher for example, talk to them! Champions play an important role in helping to ensure that all young people have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Talking openly about sexual activity so that your young person knows how best to protect themselves is incredibly important. It might feel awkward at first, but using the resources from our Talking Is Power campaign you can start to have open and honest conversations about sex, love, and relationships to prepare the person you champion for the decisions they’ll make in the future.
Read More/Source: https://powertodecide.org/news/condoms-are-for-everyone-makesomelove