Photo: Paul Keller
Thanks to Queers United for reminding me about this.
National Condom Week 2/14-2/21 is an excellent way to publicize those simple objects that have saved the lives of the gay and bisexual men in your lives. Although religious extremists love to lie about the effectiveness of condoms, condoms are exceedingly effective when used properly. Here are some instructions from Avert on how to use condoms.
Open the condom package at one corner being careful not to tear the condom with your fingernails, your teeth, or through being too rough. Make sure the package and condom appear to be in good condition, and check that if there is an expiry date that the date has not passed.
Place the rolled condom over the tip of the hard penis, and if the condom does not have a reservoir top, pinch the tip of the condom enough to leave a half inch space for semen to collect. If the man is not circumcised, then pull back the foreskin before rolling on the condom.
Pinch the air out of the condom tip with one hand and unroll the condom over the penis with the other hand. Roll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis, and smooth out any air bubbles. (Air bubbles can cause a condom to break.)
If you want to use some extra lubrication, put it on the outside of the condom. But always use a water-based lubricant (such as KY Jelly or Liquid Silk) with latex condoms, as an oil-based lubricant will cause the latex to break. Click here to see picture of lubricants.
The man wearing the condom doesn't always have to be the one putting it on - it can be quite a nice thing for his partner to do.
Here's a YouTube video that Avert embedded too.
Generally, you should use lubricants that specifically say that they are condom safe. Women's Health at About.com has some info on some of the things that you definitely shouldn't use for lubricating condoms.
Never use a lubricant that contains oils, fats, or greases such as petroleum-based jelly (like Vaseline brand), baby oil or lotion, hand or body lotions, cooking shortenings, or oily cosmetics like cold cream. They can seriously weaken latex, causing a condom to tear easily.
So many people have died needlessly from HIV. Many people still do because HIV drugs don't work indefinitely for everyone. Some people get sick or even die from the drugs. People with HIV are at risk from unsafe sex too because of the variety of strains from a rapidly mutating virus. Different strains have different resistances to HIV drugs.
Protect yourself and your partners.