International Condom Day seeks to promote the use of condoms as a means of preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
It is an informal observance celebrated in conjunction with Valentine’s Day. The holiday is also promoted by the AHF (AIDS Healthcare Foundation) in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV through safe sex practices.
The simple fact is that scientific research demonstrates that condoms are an effective and important tool in the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as other sexually transmitted infections. Let’s consider some interesting nuggets of that large body of research:
- When it comes to HIV, using a condom makes sex 10,000 times safer than not using a condom. – Carey, Ronald F., et al. (1992)
- There is no medical reason why someone can’t use a condom. Even people with latex allergies can use them — there are latex-free condoms made of polyurethane and polyisoprene. – Hatcher, Robert A., et al. (2007)
- Condoms have been around a long, long time. The earliest known illustration of a man using a condom is a 12,000–15,000-year-old painting on the wall of a cave in France. – Parisot, Jeannette (1985)
Who binds with chains the poet’s wit,
The navvy’s strength, the soldier’s pride,
And lays the sleek, estranging shield
Between the lover and his bride.”
― George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying
- Condom availability in places of need around the world is increasing significantly, with 25.8 million female condoms provided through international and nongovernmental funding sources in 2009. Condom distribution increased by 10 million between 2008 and 2009. – UNAIDS (2010)
- The condom is one of the most accessible and inexpensive forms of birth control available. The cost of condoms is as low as $0.04 per unit. – UNAIDS (2010)
- Only 39 percent of American high school students are taught how to correctly use a condom in their health classes. Programs that teach young people about abstinence as well as contraception help youth to delay first sex and use condoms and other forms of contraception when they do have sex. – Kirby, Douglas. (2007)
“Staying in Africa, I think it will one day be admitted with shame that it might have been in error to say that AIDS is bad as a disease, very bad, but not quite as bad as condoms are bad, or not as immoral in the same way.” – Christopher Hitchens
And consider these other quite interesting facts about condoms:
- An average condom can hold a gallon of liquid. (The average healthy man over 24 produces a tablespoonful of 15 millilitres of sperm in a single ejaculation.)
- The oldest known condoms (that is to say, as in the oldest ones physically found) were discovered in a toilet in Dudley, England and were made from fish and animal intestine. They were dated around 1640.
- The term used by medical professionals and safer sex educators to refer to the phenomenon of decreased condom use is condom fatigue.
“Use a condom. The world doesn’t need another you.”
― Carroll Bryant
- 5 billion condoms are used every year, worldwide.
- The Chinese hold the world record for creating the largest condom. During the celebration of the World population Day in 2003, the people of Guilin, China, made a 80 meter x 100 meter condom and placed it on top of a hotel.
- The formal Danish word for condom is Svangerskabsforebyggendemiddel; whereas the Greeks employ the beautiful word προφυλακτικό.
“It’s the strange thing about this church, it is obsessed with sex, absolutely obsessed. Now, they will say we with our permissive society and our rude jokes, we are obsessed. No, we have a healthy attitude, we like it, it’s fun, it’s jolly, […] it’s a bit like food in that respect only even more exciting. The only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics and the morbidly obese, and that in erotic terms is the Catholic Church in a nutshell.” – Stephen Fry