The Sexual Continuum

Discussing all things related to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) health

It's not just IF you use a condom, its HOW you use a condom.

Study shows 95% of young men make errors with condoms.

So much attention focuses on promoting condom use in young people.  Promoting condom use is important because, when used correctly, condoms are very effective at preventing HIV.  But they need to be used correctly, and unfortunately we may not do such a good job of explaining to young people how to use condoms correctly.  It isn't rocket science, but there are a few important things to know. 

We just published result of a study showing 95% of young men who have sex with men (MSM) make errors when using condoms. So what were some of the most common errors made by young MSM? 59% did not squeeze air out of the condom, 42% used an oil-based lube, and 25% started having sex before they put on the condom.  These kinds of errors increased condom breakage and slippage.  For example, oil-based lubricants (like hand lotion or Vaseline) damage the condom and eventually can cause it to break during sex.  Water- and silicone-based lubricants are what you want to use.  To make it easy, many lubricants indicate on the bottle "safe for use with latex condoms."  You also want to make sure to use a condom from start to finish because fluids are present before ejaculation that can transmit HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.  In other words, if you don't use condoms correctly they don't work as well to protect you from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. 

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So how can you get educated about the steps to correct condom use?  To help, we created a short video to show you how to use a condom the right way, starring Steve Du Bois, MA from the IMPACT Program.  Watch the video yourself to learn more, or share it with young people so that they can make sure they are taking all the right steps. Help us spread the word about how to use condoms the right way by clicking share on facebook and other social media sites (buttons are below this post), emailing it, or by "liking" the video on YouTube.  You can also read more about this study here.

Read the article here:  DuBois, S. N., Emerson, E., & Mustanski, B. (2010). Condom-Related Problems Among a Racially Diverse Sample of Young Men Who Have Sex with Men. AIDS and Behavior.

Dr. Mustanski is the Director of the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. You can follow the Sexual Continuum blog by becoming a fan on Facebook.

Brian Mustanski, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at Northwestern University and the founding Director of the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program.

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