Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Improper condom use appears to be a global problem

Research shows that proper use of a condom can significantly reduce a person's chances of becoming infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). However, while many people make the effort to put a condom on at some point during a sex act, some fail to use the prophylactic correctly, which can lead to infection or unintended pregnancy.

A recent issue in the journal Sexual Health features a collection of studies on condom use, many of which reveal that people in the U.S. and beyond are not getting the maximum benefit of the contraceptive.

A team of more than 20 scientists from the Kinsey Institute's Condom Use Research Team (CURT) are looking into condom use habits worldwide and developing ways to effectively educate the public on how to practice safer sex.

"The articles in the special issue illustrate both commonalities and differences relative to the use and promotion of male condoms around the world," said William L. Yarber, professor of applied health science at Indiana University and member of CURT. "It provides a resource for sexual health professionals to use for strategizing ways to increase cultural and individual acceptance of condom use."

Some of the most common ways people misuse condoms are putting them on or taking them off post-penetration or applying them upside-down.

Researchers stressed that prevention is the best weapon against the spread of HIV and AIDS, viruses for which there is no cure and treatment remains difficult and costly.

CURT member Richard Crosby, a lead editor of the Sexual Health issue, said that experts "chronically underestimate how complicated condom use can be." He said that educational efforts should take into account the logistics of sex acts, condom use and partner dynamics.