Those who are in the habit of carrying condoms in their wallets, pockets or storing them in the pigeonholes of their cars have been asked to desist from the practice.
This is because condoms are not to be kept in hot environment, otherwise, they risk losing their effectiveness.
A sexual and reproductive health expert, Sunday Akoh, told PUNCH HealthWise in an interview that people who carry condoms about in their wallets and pockets are not doing the right thing.
Akoh, who works with Love Matters Naija, a digital online platform that provides sexual and reproductive health enlightenment for young people, said these environments are hot for condoms to be kept.
According to him, condoms are made from materials that are rubber-based and, therefore, should not be kept in a hot environment.
He noted that using condom is not the issue, but using it properly to get the maximum protection that it provides is what matters.
He said, “When it is kept in a hot environment, condom can begin to lose its potency.
“Condoms should be stored in temperate environment. By carrying them about, they may have exceeded the expiration date. The normal life cycle of a condom is five years. People must also learn to check the expiry date before usage to be sure that they are not using expired products.
“Once it is expired, it is no longer effective. There are various types of condoms out there; people must look for the one that suits them.
“People must know that apart from preventing unplanned pregnancy, condoms also prevent infection. It is the only dual contraceptive in the market. We call it dual protection.”
Apart from proper storage of condoms, the sexual and reproductive health expert also stressed the need for men to know how to wear condoms to avoid damage during sexual intercourse.
He explained, “People should read the leaflet inside a condom pack when they buy it and follow the steps of wearing it for effective protection and to avoid bursting during sexual intercourse .
“Again, most people do not know how to open a condom pack. Some people use their teeth to tear the pack open. Meanwhile, if you look at the edge of the condom, there is a perforated part that is meant for you to tear and open it.
“There are technicalities to wearing a condom, but people don’t observe it. Using the teeth or scissors to open a condom pack is wrong. It could tear the condom. Unfortunately, when it comes to sex, people do not have the time to read the leaflet.”
Akoh identified misconception as one of the majors reasons for low awareness about the benefits of condom use in Nigeria.
He said a lot of people believe that the use of condoms reduces sexual pleasure because it provides a barrier between the man and the woman during sexual intercourse.
“There is a lot of misconception that it reduces pleasure. That is a major issue around the use of condoms.
“We have low awareness about the availability of the female condom. Most people believe that it is only the male condom that is available, whereas there are female condoms also,” he added.
A survey carried out by NOIpolls, in partnership with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS and AIDS HealthCare Foundation in 2020 showed that only 34 percent of Nigerians use condom for sex.
And only 26 percent use condoms for protection against Sexually Transmitted Diseases, according to the survey.
According to the World Health Organisation, condoms are a critical component in a comprehensive and sustainable approach to the prevention of HIV and other STIs and are effective for preventing unintended pregnancies.
“In 2013, an estimated 2.1 million people became newly infected with HIV and an estimated 500 million people acquired chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis or trichomoniasis.
“In addition, every year, more than 200 million women have unmet needs for contraception, leading to approximately 80 million unintended pregnancies.
“These three public health priorities require a decisive response using all available tools, with condoms playing a central role,” WHO says.
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