How to Use a Condom

Another safety measure condom manufacturers must meet is the airburst test. Here, the condom is inflated until it bursts. By doing this, researchers can measure how much pressure and volume of air it can withstand before breaking. The airburst test is routinely done in Canada, Australia and in several European countries. In general, condoms should be able to withstand a minimum volume of 15 liters of air and a minimum pressure of 0.9 kilopascal (roughly 0.13 pounds per square inch).

To minimize "accidents" with condom use, what can you do? First, familiarize yourself on how to use the condom. You're less likely to get into trouble if you know the proper way of inserting it. Here are some tips from Health Alert:

Carefully open the package so the condom does not tear. Do not unroll the condom before putting it on.

If the penis is not circumcised, pull the foreskin back. Squeeze the tip of the condom and put it on the end of the erect penis.

Continue squeezing the tip while unrolling the condom until it covers the entire penis. (Squeezing the tip expels air. If there is trapped air, there are higher chances of the condom bursting during intercourse.)

Always put the condom on before entering the partner. (This is because even pre-ejaculate may contain HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.)

After ejaculation, hold the rim of the condom and pull the penis and condom out before the penis gets out.

After withdrawal, slide the condom off the penis without spilling the semen.

Properly dispose of the condom. Do not re-use.

Most condoms are made of latex while a few are fashioned from lab intestine. What's the difference?

For those who are allergic to latex or rubber, skin condoms (as those made from lamb cecum are called) are a better alternative. They are at least 10 times stronger than latex condoms and users claim they have a more "natural" feeling.

But these condoms also have certain shortcomings. First, they are not as effective as latex condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). When used properly, latex condoms are about 100 percent effective in protecting both the user and partner from venereal disease, including AIDS.

This was confirmed by the World Health Organization which examined numerous studies on the condom's impact on HIV. In one study among Kenyan prostitutes, those who used condoms never acquired AIDS. Those who didn't got the disease. Other studies show that condom users, in general, lessen by more than half their risk of contracting HIV than non-users. (Next: How condoms prevent AIDS.)

Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine

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By Sharon A Bell
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