In a rather bizarre tweet, Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) took everyone by surprise when they advised the sexually-active population of America to not wash or reuse their condoms. The tweet justifies its advice with a disclaimed right at the beginning: “We say it because people do it.” Before you scoff at the tweet wondering if CDC thinks the world is full of cretins, the message was put out after the agency found a spike in the number of STDs in the country. Cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are increasing in the US and has reached an all-time high. And a lack of awareness on the part of the general public could be a possible reason. Here's CDC's tweet:
— CDC STD (@CDCSTD) July 23, 2018
Even a simple prophylactic like condom can be confusing to people. In fact, it’s this lack of awareness that increases instances of STDs, HIV, Zika and Ebola. While most condoms are resilient, it’s never OK to wash or reuse them. And even if you don’t subject your rubbers to a medieval torture routine, sometimes, the simple things you do can wreck them. Here’s CDC’s list of 5 Don’ts for using condoms:
#1 Don’t Store Condom In Your Wallet
Most men have a habit of storing condom packets in their wallets. But CDC warns against it. If you carry your wallet in your pocket, there’s a high chance it will be subjected to heat and friction, the two sworn enemies of the condom. This will bring down the shelf life of the condoms, making them more prone to breakage. Just recently, Durex recalled a big batch of their condoms due to quality concerns.
#2 Don’t Use It With Spermicide
Some condoms are lined with spermicide nonoxynol-9 for added contraception. But CDC warns against using additional nonoxynol with the condom because it can cause irritation. Some condom manufacturers have also stopped producing condoms lined with nonoxynol-9 since studies showed a connection between increased HIV transmission and spermicide.
#3 Don’t Use It With Baby Oil and Petroleum Jelly
Great thing about the condom is that it provides more than just protection, it also takes care of the lubrication since condoms are coated with a silicon-based substance. Some people want to go the extra mile by lubing it up with oil-based lubricants like baby oil and petroleum jelly. These substances will break down the latex of the condom, compromising its effectiveness.
#4 Don’t Use More Than One Condom
Using one condom will do fine; using two is sheer stupidity. Some people think that using two condoms at the same time or “double-bagging” will offer double protection against pregnancy. But sadly, neither does it prevent pregnancy nor does it ensure safer sex. Using two condoms during intercourse may increase friction between the two, causing them to break.
#5 Don’t Wash Condom
Lastly, going back to CDC’s original warning, don’t wash and reuse the condom. A used condom may already be damaged to some degree due to the friction; washing it will only add to the existing damage. Washing also removes the silicon coating on the condom, making wearing the condom difficult and sex painful for the woman.
Condoms are the most popular form of contraception the world over because they are easy to use and don’t come with side effects. But wrong methods of storage and usage can compromise their effectiveness and safety. So keep these five points in mine when use condoms and for god’s sake, buy a new pack instead of washing and reusing. It’s going to be far less cheap than what you may spend on treating herpes.