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22 February 2012
Improper condom use a global health issue, say medicos
by George Atkinson

An unprecedented collection of condom use studies shows that improper usage is common not only in the U.S., but also most other countries around the world. The studies, published in the journal Sexual Health, provide a global perspective on condom use problems and errors, along with new research on factors influencing correct condom use, how condom use programs can be more effective, and the promotion of the female condom. The studies were led by The Kinsey Institute Condom Use Research Team (CURT) and involved more than 20 researchers from around the world.

"The articles illustrate both commonalities and differences relative to the use and promotion of male condoms around the world," said CURT researcher William L. Yarber. "It provides a resource for sexual health professionals to use for strategizing ways to increase cultural and individual acceptance of condom use."

The CURT researchers are particularly vocal about the low cost of condoms compared to costly HIV and AIDS medications. "While we'd like to think the AIDS epidemic is going away, it's not. In the U.S, it's getting worse," said CURT member Richard Crosby. "We keep looking to medical doctors for the solution to the epidemic, but it's the wrong paradigm. The prevention of the disease is the modern solution to the AIDS pandemic... condoms are the vaccine we've been waiting for."

He added that better education and instruction regarding condom use are urgently needed. "Making condoms accessible to people who need them is important, but improved clinic-based counseling, public education and Internet-based education efforts are all key requirements to their correct use."

Crosby also noted that this lack of education was often because of embarrassment or discomfort in discussing sexual acts. "We chronically underestimate how complicated condom use can be," he said. "It involves the use of a condom, while negotiating the condom use and sex with a partner all at the same time. There is a complex triad of the sex act, condom use and partner dynamics that must constantly be navigated by condom users."

Discuss this article in our forum
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Source: Indiana University

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