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Choice – A Necessity in Contraception



Choice is something everyone should have the right to when it comes to making decisions about one’s sexual health and wellness, including contraception.  Choice can be defined as the following:

  • an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.
  • the right or ability to make, or possibility of making, such a selection.
  • a range of possibilities from which one or more may be selected
  • a course of action, thing, or person that is selected or decided upon.


September 26 is World Contraception Day and the theme for this year is “The Power of Options”. It is absolutely crucial to be empowered when it comes to one’s sexual health. And empowerment comes through choice, education and knowledge. 


Education is Key


Education is a key component of empowerment.  It is only through awareness and knowledge that one can make an informed decision regarding the best options for one’s health.  When you have access to correct, informative and useful information, then you can make decisions based on how best to fill your needs.  This also means you must always make sure that the sources you are accessing are credible. Information is available from health practitioners, clinics, and sexual wellness facilities.


Types of Contraceptives


Contraceptives are available in many different formats, offering options based on factors such as lifestyle, health considerations, availability, future plans, and, ultimately, preference.  These include different hormonal options, IUDs, assorted barrier methods, and surgical options to name a few.   The good news is that there are options to choose from that best fit one’s lifestyle. Even within each group of contraceptives there are choices available, allowing one to further tailor their contraceptive needs.  One very important thing to remember is that not all contraceptives aid in the prevention of STIs. Always make sure to use a condom or dam (oral barrier) when engaging in penetrative or oral sex.


The Power of Options


The theme of 2023’s World Contraception Day is The Power of Options.  This theme is based on more than just the varied contraceptive options. It also focuses on the power those options allow to be formative in choosing one’s life path. These could include family planning, child spacing, increased reproductive health, gender equality and continuing to aid in open communication around sexual wellness.  When there are options and choices that allow individuals to choose what works best for them, then the odds of healthy practices being implemented rise.  In order for something to work, it needs to work for the individual. Offering choices in contraception simply allow everyone to choose what will work best for them.

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Sex & Aging

Sex and Aging!


Sex through all stages of life


Yes – your grandparents are probably still having sex!  As are your parents.  And the truth is, age does not have to stop anyone from enjoying having sex.  Our sexual health is an important part of our lives regardless of age.  But the natural aging process does impact our physiological make up, which then can impact some aspects of sexual activity.


How does aging impact sexual health?


The many physical changes that aging can bring may impact one’s sexual activity. This can include everything from age related illness, lower libidos, hormonal changes, muscle loss/weakness, to the many side effects of medications.  But there are ways to navigate these changes to continue to have an active and healthy sex life into one’s later years. 


The reality is that as we age our bodies change. This is true of our reproductive organs and hormones as well. These changes may bring about new obstacles that may include the following:


  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased testosterone or estrogen levels
  • Changes in the structure of the vagina
  • Reduced production of vaginal lubrication
  • Mental health concerns regarding body image related to aging
  • Decreased libido due to hormonal changes
  • Sleep issues that could impact sexual desire

Many of these concerns can be dealt with through speaking with your health practitioner for assistance. There are medications, creams and naturopathic options to help alleviate many age-related sexual health concerns. 


Communication is Key


As with so many things in our lives, communication is the key!  As we deal with the many changes aging brings into our lives, we need to maintain open discussions with our partners.  This will allow both parties the opportunity to express their changing needs, if any, that are the result of age-related changes.


It may be as simple as more intimacy before any sexual activity, using lubricant, discussing any shame related to body changes or sexual activity so everyone can move forward within a trust-filled relationship, or simply acknowledging that things are different.  But different does not have to mean bad. Different can be exciting and fun as you find new ways to express your sexual lives together.


Safer Sex Practices are for All Ages!


The Mayo Clinic states that an ongoing interest in sex, as well as satisfaction with the frequency and quality of sexual activity, is positively associated with health in later life.  Older adults can continue to enjoy an active sex life.  This can be with a long-term partner or, due to divorce or the death of a spouse, with new partners.  With this in mind, sexual activity at any age requires one to continue to implement safer sex practices to aid in the prevention of STIs. This includes the use of condoms, oral barriers (dams) and lubricants.  STIs can be transmitted at any age!


Many older adults view prevention from a pregnancy point of view only.  This results in a false belief that one does not need to use prevention.  This becomes apparent when we see that overall STIs are on the rise in North America, with infections among adults age 65 and older more than doubled between 2007 and 2017.  Regardless of one’s age, safer sex practices need to be incorporated so that one can stay sexually healthy while having a viable and healthy sex life.

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Condoms Colorful History

Condoms: Colorful & Controversial




Condoms have had a very colorful and sometimes controversial history, especially in North America.  Condoms, in varying forms, and other means of birth control have been around for centuries.  Early contraceptives were made from materials on hand ranging from animal dung, horns, animal intestines, to seaweed.  But they did not come neatly packaged in paper or foils.  That only really began in the late 1830s with the invention of vulcanized rubber and the massive impact it had on the condom industry.


Mass Production of Condoms


The general perception of the 1800’s Victorian Era is not usually one of open sexuality or ease of access to contraceptives.  But it actually was!


“Condom production ballooned after 1839, when Charles Goodyear’s method of rubber vulcanization kick-started modern latex technologies in the United States. By 1870, condoms were available through almost any outlet you can imagine–drug suppliers, doctors, pharmacies, dry-goods retailers and mail-order houses. It may seem surprising today, but sexual products were openly sold and distributed during much of the 19th century.”


So, condoms were everywhere and easy to access. Until the hammer came down in the form of Comstock’s Act.


Comstock’s Act


Anthony Comstock began a huge reform movement that actually was passed by the US Congress as a Law.  Comstock’s Act was passed in 1873 after Comstock equated contraception to a free license to partake in sexual shenanigans and infidelity.  This made the sale, advertising, or mailing of any contraceptive illegal. It could actually result in prison time!  


Although it impacted the explicit sale of condoms, it most certainly did not stop them.  Folks, being resilient and resourceful as always, just found a loophole to market them different. And part of this new approach was for the prevention of infections.


Prevention vs Contraception


The advent of science and the understanding of germs, transmission included, was applied to condoms as a way to market them.  Suddenly they could offer a product “for safety” and not even mention contraception.   This concept of infection prevention was only beginning to be understood.  The advent of World War I brought it home…. literally.  STIs, especially gonorrhea and syphilis, were rampant in the troops.  The fight against STIs was on, but still as a reaction to the issue not as prevention.  The concept of disease prevention would still need some more time.




Condoms began to be viewed as a necessary medical device to help combat and prevent STIs.  This saw the rise of messaging on condom packaging with references to safety during sex.  Condom messaging was not about pleasure and fun, but about being safer to help reduce the possibility of contracting a Venereal Disease.


But it still wasn’t until 1937 that the FDA instituted a national standard for testing of condoms to make sure they met safety guidelines.  And then condoms and the advertising of their merits were fully used as North America entered World War II.  Access to condoms was military de rigueur.  The messaging was to protect your country and yourself.  Condoms advertised their function to the user with the names and messages on the packaging. 


Today condoms are still an important medical device for safer sex practices.  But they are now also seen as something that can be for pleasure as well.  They are available for use as contraceptives, help in preventing or reducing the transmission of infections, and for pleasure or fun. Due to the myriad of options available, condoms can be both fun and functional.  Condoms have had an interesting and controversial history, one that continues to evolve over time.

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STIs and Testing

STIs and Testing


How to Begin the Testing Path


We have all heard how testing is an important component of our Sexual Health, but often times we do not know where to get tested.  Testing is available in many places within North America. You can begin by asking your doctor, going to a clinic or public health facility for guidance. Testing is free at many facilities including family doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics, sexual health clinics, and other public health units and community centres. 


What Types of Testing Do I Need?


The type of test needed is directly dependent upon what you are being tested for.  There are a few different types of STI Test procedures; most of them are simple and easy to have done.

  • Blood tests are done for the following: hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis and herpes (HSV).
  • Urine tests or genital swabs can be done for the following: gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis.
  • Oral swabs can be done for the following: gonorrhea, chlamydia, HSV and HPV.
  • Anal swabs can be done for the following: anal chlamydia, gonorrhea and HPV.
  • Lesions swabs can be done for the following: HSV, HPV and syphilis.

It is important to get tested if having multiple sexual partners, the condom or dam breaks or slips, you are not sure of the status of your partner, at an annual checkup, if showing symptoms or know of recent exposure, and/or as part of your routine ongoing health care.


The bottom line is that folks of all genders and sexual orientations should be tested once a year, after unprotected sex, or in between new partners — whichever comes first!


Exposure to different STIs also come with different timelines for testing.  There are different incubation periods for the different STIs.  This incubation period means the time between infection and the appearance of symptoms.  This ranges between a couple of days to a few months. This is something to discuss with your healthcare provider to get specific answers about in order to test within the appropriate time to avoid false negative results.


How Long Before I Get Results?


Most of the test results are completed between 2-5 days.  But never assume you are negative if you do not hear back from your test provider. Always call and confirm the results before engaging in sexual activities.  Tests are also available for use within the privacy of your home.  These ones are generally something that requires payment.  The in-home testing is an alternative for folks who are uncomfortable going to a healthcare provider for testing. 


Results and Next Steps


Once you have received your results, the next steps depend upon what they were.  If you are positive, then there are steps that need to be taken. These are dependent upon the diagnosis, and often times involve medication, sharing your diagnosis with past sexual partners and/or a host of treatment options to help manage symptoms and future outbreaks.  The reality is that 1 in 2 people will experience an STI within their lifetime.  With that representing 50% of the population, we need to continue to remove the stigma from STIs, create awareness about them and the prevention options available, make testing easily accessible and known, and work together to lessen the epidemic proportions of STIs worldwide.

Together we can make a difference!

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Safer Sex Can Still be Fun!

Safer Sex Can Be Fun!


Sometimes we may feel that safety is all about restricting what we view as our enjoyment of some things.  But when it comes to sexual activities, that is absolutely not the case!   There are many different products that can assist in everyone having safer sex that can also be fun.  The products for safer sex have expanded over the years to incorporate many unique aspects that help to meet many different individual needs.


What Is Safer Sex?


Safer sex is quite simply anything we do to help lower the risk of transmission of infection during sexual activities for all participants.   The terminology is SAFER because nothing is 100% due to some extenuating circumstances, a big one being user error.  So, if you are going to engage in any sexual activities make sure you use products that help keep it safer and could also make it more fun.   This can include latex or polyisoprene condoms, latex or polyisoprene dams, or nitrile female condoms. All of these acts as a barrier to help prevent the exchange of bodily fluids that may cause an infection.  And to reduce usage issues, always read the instructions.


Practicing Safer Sex


If engaging in sexual activities, there are things to do to help practice safer sex:


  • Use a condom for vaginal or anal sex
  • Use a dam for oral/vaginal or oral/anal sex
  • Mutual Masturbation
  • Use a condom with sex toys
  • Use a new condom/dam every time you switch sexual activities
  • Do not re-use a condom or dam
  • Use lubricants with condoms and dams
  • Read the instructions for use

Learning to implement the usage of condoms and dams into foreplay can also help increase pleasure as well as safety. 


Condom Styles


There truly is a condom style to meet everyone’s needs!  Condoms come in many options, a few of which are the following:


  • Straight walled
  • Lubricated or Non-lubricated
  • Colored
  • Flavored
  • Ribbed & Studded
  • Glow in the Dark
  • Tattooed
  • Super Sensitive
  • Extra Large
  • Hyper Thin
  • Snugger Fit
  • Pleasure Shaped
  • Tingling Condoms
  • Edible Condoms

Most of today’s condoms are meant to be used for safer sex purposes but there are some that are strictly for enjoyment and are not a form of protection.  Make sure you know what you are using before you engage in any sexual activity.  Also make sure your condoms and dams are FDA approved.  Always purchase or obtain your condoms and dams from credible suppliers including licensed Health Distributors, Public Health, your doctor, and pharmacies.


Safer Sex can be still be fun.  Actually, perhaps more fun when you know you are taking precautions to help reduce your risks of an unintended pregnancy and the transmission of STIs.

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STIs: Myths & Misconceptions

STIs: Myths & Misconceptions


Conversations concerning sex and sexual wellness are unfortunately still not as open as they need to be. Many people are uncomfortable discussing sexuality, sexual wellness, and, ultimately then, sexual health.  This includes STIs, which continue to be surrounded with a myriad of myths and misconceptions.  The internet, although oft times a helpful tool, can also be a breeding ground of misinformation.  It is important to always check that your sources are reliable when using the internet. And if not sure, then go speak with a healthcare provider for information.


STIs & the Myths that Need Debunking


As we have mentioned before, The World Health Organization estimates over 1 million STIs are acquired DAILY!  We can help reduce those numbers with factual and helpful methods of prevention – the biggest being awareness and education.   The Medical News Today article “Medical Myths: Sexual Health” helps debunk some of the myths that have circulated for years.




MYTH: If I am taking the Pill, I cannot get an STI.  

FACT: Oral contraceptives prevent pregnancies. They cannot prevent an STI.  You need to still use a condom or dam when taking the Pill.

MYTH: Pulling out or Withdrawal reduces my chance of getting an STI.

FACT:  Again, anytime there is genital contact a condom or dam is required. 

MYTH: Two condoms are safer than one. 

FACT:  Never use more than one condom at a time as the friction of them rubbing together can actually cause them to tear.

MYTH: I can catch an STI from a public toilet seat.

FACT: STIs are transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal, oral sex, genital contact, sharing of sex toys and other sexual activity.  They are not transmittable via a toilet seat.

MYTH: You can’t get rid of an STI. 

FACT: Some STIs are curable and others are treatable. Get tested if you show symptoms, have had unprotected sex, have a new partner, or as a regular part of your overall health.

MYTH: I will only get an STI if I have penetrative sex.

FACT: Oral sex or sharing of sex toys, along with sharing needles, can also easily transmit an STI.

MYTH: I don’t have any symptoms so I am fine.

FACT: Many STIs are asymptomatic, meaning you won’t show symptoms or they won’t appear for awhile. This means you may be spreading it unknowingly.  Get tested to ensure you are STI free.




Regular Testing is one of the important ways to ensure you are not sharing an STI unknowingly.  Testing is available online for discreet at home testing, through Public Health organizations and clinics, and your family doctor.  

Getting tested annually is a great place to start but further testing is appropriate and wise with the following:


  • If you have a new sexual partner.
  • If you have noticed any discharge, rashes or other physical changes in your body.
  • If you or your partner are sexually active with other partners.
  • If you had sex with someone and did not use a condom or other prevention methods.
  • If you had sex with a condom and the condom broke


How testing is done and how long it takes for results depends upon the type of STI.  Your health care provider can give you more details if needed.


Know your Sexual Health status and practice having safer sex. Knowledge can help keep you safer! There are so many options to help keep sex safer while still having fun. 

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My Condoms Expire???

My Condoms Expire???

There are all types of condoms, manufactured with different materials and by different manufacturers around the world. And EVERY one of them expires.  Condoms are a medical device and, as such, have a shelf life for both effectiveness and quality.  Why? Well mostly because of the materials they are made from.  Whether it is latex, polyisoprene, polyurethane, or  nitrile, they all have a lifespan for peak effectiveness.  After that lifespan is met, they begin to degrade. No different than medications lose their potency after their expiry date and food can go bad, condoms and dams are no longer at their peak performance once past their expiry date.  

How Long Does my Condom Last?

Condoms usually have up to a 5-year expiry date from manufacturing depending upon what material they are made from.  Dams usually have a 3-year expiry date from manufacturing.  The expiry date is printed on the outer box or carton, as well on the individual condom foil or dam packaging. It is often printed as year-month-date on the packaging.  So 2023-01-31 means it is good until January 31 2023.   The Lot number is the number that a supplier or manufacturer can use to trace the product if there are any recalls or issues.

What Happens to an Expired Condom?

All condoms wear down over time. No different than any other material we use for our everyday products, they all have a shelf life for peak performance.  Condoms become brittle and can break much easier when they are expired.  This then increases your risk for STIs or pregnancy.  This process happens quicker for natural condoms such as lambskin or sheepskin so make sure you are checking your expiry dates for all types of condoms.

Storing Condoms

Being proactive and prepared by always having a condom on hand is wise, but HOW you carry it about is important.  Condoms are best stored at room temperature.  Heat is a condom’s worst enemy.  Storing your condoms in your glove compartment is not wise! Nor is having them loose in your purse or bag, where friction and sharp objects can damage them.  Keep them at home in a drawer or cupboard. And not in a bathroom where the heat and humidity can also break down the materials.  If taking one out for the night, make sure it is in a condom compact or place where it won’t get damaged.  Condom foils go through a manufacturing process to help keep the condoms protected from damage and ultra-violet rays.  But it is up to you to keep them safe from extreme heat and sharp objects.  

Take Care of Your Condoms

If you take care of your condoms, they will help take care of you. 

Don’t use your condoms if:
• There is visible damage to the wrapper
• You can see lubricant leaking from the package
• It is dry or brittle upon opening
• It is past its expiry date
• It smells bad

Don’t open your condoms with:
• Your teeth
• Scissors
• Sharp objects including fingernails

Always tear your condom open along the perforation that is on the foil as per the manufacturing process. 

Make Sure To Use Your Condoms

Condoms are available at local Public Health facilities, many University and College Health Centres and Student Unions, Pharmacies, Adult Stores, online platforms and even grocery stores.  No matter where you get yours, make sure you wear yours and that you are checking your expiry dates.  Regardless of the different styles, brands, and materials, condoms are a part of safer sex practices. 
So go and explore your condom preferences. Contact reliable sources to ensure you are getting the correct information and approved products. 

Your sexual health is relying on it!

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Condom Myths

There are many types of condoms available to meet everyone’s needs.   And, unfortunately, there are also as many myths and misconceptions associated with condoms as well!  Sadly, with the stigma that still surrounds sexual health, many false beliefs are circulated as “fact” when they are truly fiction. False information on the internet, talking with others who may not have the facts, fear of asking a question, and shame still surrounding sexual activities, all lead to misinformation. And even worse, this misinformation can lead to unwanted pregnancies or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Condom Myth #1

“Using two condoms is better than one.”

Double is NOT always a better deal. This is a big NO.  One condom is all that is necessary for safer sex.  If you double up condoms you are actually at more of a risk for breakage due to the condoms rubbing together. You only need to use one condom at a time for them to do what they are supposed to.

Condom Myth #2

“I don’t need to wear a condom if I practice the withdrawal method.”

The withdrawal method, or pulling out, is when the penis is pulled out before ejaculation.  Many men have sperm in their pre-ejaculate, the fluid that is released before ejaculation.  Condoms should be worn when genital contact is occurring.  Wearing a condom will help in reducing the possibility of transmission of STIs and unwanted pregnancies.


Condom Myth #3


“Condoms are a turn off.”

Condoms are available in all different styles, sizes, colors, and flavors.  They are ribbed, tattooed, and even glow in the dark.  They come in snugger fit to extra large.  They can easily be incorporated into foreplay so that they are not viewed as something that interrupts sexual pleasure, but rather something that enhances it.   

Condom Myth #4

“Condoms are hard to put on.”

Nope.  They are quite simple to put on actually.  And it is easy to practice beforehand as well.  


  • Tear open the package carefully and do not use fingernails, teeth, or anything that can damage the condom.


  • Remove the condom from the package and apply a small amount of lubricant to the inside tip. 


  • Before any sexual contact, place the condom on the head of the erect penis with the rolled side out. Pinch the receptacle tip of the condom between your thumb and forefinger. This prevents air from becoming trapped at the tip of the condom and leaves an empty space to collect semen. 


  • Unroll the condom down the base of the penis with your other hand. If the condom doesn’t unroll easily, it may be on backwards, damaged or too old. Throw it away and start over with a new condom. You can apply lubricant at this time as well.


  • Immediately after ejaculation, hold on to the base of the condom tightly and pull out while the penis is still erect. This will keep the condom from slipping off and keep any fluids from being spilled. 


  • Dispose properly by wrapping the used condom in tissue and throwing it in the trash so others won’t handle it. DO NOT FLUSH CONDOMS DOWN THE TOILET

Condom Myth #5

“You can re-use a condom.”

No, you cannot re-use a condom.  Use a new condom for every new act of intercourse. Never reuse condoms as this can result in condom breakage, risk of pregnancy and STIs.  Do not use the same condom if switching from vaginal sex to anal sex.  

Condom Myth #6

“Any type of lube is fine with condoms.”

Never use petroleum-based lubricants with latex condoms as they will damage the integrity of the latex and can break the condoms.  Use water-based or silicone-based lubricants when using condoms.  Either are fine and truly are simply a matter of preference. 


So go and explore your condom preferences. Contact reliable sources to ensure you are getting the correct information.  Your sexual health is relying on it!

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What is Chlamydia?

“Chlamydia (kluh-MID-e-uh) trachomatis (truh-KOH-muh-tis) is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. You might not know you have chlamydia because many people don't have signs or symptoms, such as genital pain and discharge from the vagina or penis.”

How do you get it?

Chlamydia is spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex when one of the partners has the infection. If an individual has previously been treated for the bacterial infection, they are still at risk of contracting it again. 


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner. Even when chlamydia causes no symptoms, it can damage your reproductive system.

Women with symptoms may notice


  • An abnormal vaginal discharge;
  • A burning sensation when urinating.

Symptoms in men can include

  • A discharge from their penis;
  • A burning sensation when urinating;
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common).

Men and women can also get infected with chlamydia in their rectum. This happens either by having receptive anal sex, or by spread from another infected site (such as the vagina). While these infections often cause no symptoms, they can cause


  • Rectal pain;
  • Discharge;
  • Bleeding.


You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STI or symptoms of an STI. STI symptoms can include an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when urinating, or bleeding between periods.

What are some complications that can arise?

Mayo Clinic has created a list of complications that Chlamydia can be associated with: 


  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes that causes pelvic pain and fever. Severe infections might require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. PID can damage the fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus, including the cervix.


  • Infection near the testicles (epididymitis). A chlamydia infection can inflame the coiled tube located beside each testicle (epididymis). The infection can result in fever, scrotal pain and swelling.


  • Prostate gland infection. Rarely, the chlamydia organism can spread to a man's prostate gland. Prostatitis can cause pain during or after sex, fever and chills, painful urination, and lower back pain.


  • Infections in newborns. The chlamydia infection can pass from the vaginal canal to your child during delivery, causing pneumonia or a serious eye infection.


  • Ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside of the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. The pregnancy needs to be removed to prevent life-threatening complications, such as a burst tube. A chlamydia infection increases this risk.


  • Infertility. Chlamydia infections — even those that produce no signs or symptoms — can cause scarring and obstruction in the fallopian tubes, which might make women infertile.


  • Reactive arthritis. People who have Chlamydia trachomatis are at higher risk of developing reactive arthritis, also known as Reiter's syndrome. This condition typically affects the joints, eyes and urethra — the tube that carries urine from your bladder to outside of your body.

Prevention Methods

As the most common sexually transmitted infection, and one of the most difficult infections to diagnose early on, it’s incredibly important that safety precautions are set in place when you are sexually active. Some good measures to take to stay safer include;


  • Condoms. When used correctly, male or female condoms decrease your risk of contracting Chlamydia.


  • Screenings. When you are sexually active, it’s very important to have regular discussions with your doctor in regard to your sexual health. If you have multiple partners, you should talk to your doctor to schedule regular screenings for chlamydia as well as other STI’s.


  • Treatment. If you have concluded that you have contracted Chlamydia, the good news is that it can be easily cured with antibiotics. According to the CDC, once you have received your antibiotics:


“Persons with chlamydia should abstain from sexual activity for 7 days after single dose antibiotics or until completion of a 7-day course of antibiotics, to prevent spreading the infection to partners. It is important to take all of the medication prescribed to cure chlamydia. Medication for chlamydia should not be shared with anyone. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. If a person’s symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, he or she should return to a health care provider to be re-evaluated.”

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How to Use a Male Condom

Although not difficult, using a condom can be a tricky thing if you have not used one before, and it is very important that you use them correctly. If a condom is not put on in a correct manner it can increase the potential risk of contracting or transmitting an STI, reduce the effectiveness of its birth control properties, and can cause varying health complications. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started. Practice putting one on so that when you are in a situation you are already comfortable with the process.


  • Before opening your condom, be sure to read any special information that is provided on the packaging of your condoms. Be aware of the type of condom that you are using and the material it is made of.  If you have known allergies (especially to latex), it is important that you know what your condoms are made from to reduce the risk of any reactions to the condom and/or lubricant that is used. It is also very important to be aware of the expiry date on the packaging of your condom. Never use a condom that is expired.  Make sure you store your condoms at room temperature and never in your wallet or glove compartment. 


  • Once you have read the packaging, remove the condom from the box. You will notice that each condom is individually wrapped, as they are a single use device.  Again, it is important to read the packaging on the individual condoms noting anything specific prior to opening it. Once you have read the packaging, most condoms have a spot that makes opening easier or instructions on where to open the package. You want to make sure that you open it from its packaging carefully.  Do not use your teeth, fingernails, or any sharp objects (such as scissors or a knife) to open the package – you do not want to damage the condom inside.


  • When you remove most condoms from their packaging, you will notice there may be a liquid like texture. This is called lubricant and is used to keep the condom moist during sexual intercourse to help prevent possible irritation. Lubricant also helps reduce the risk of your condom breaking. If you have a condom that is not pre-lubricated, you can purchase some separately and apply it yourself when you are ready to use it.  Never use oil-based lubricants like petroleum jelly, mineral oil, baby oil, or vegetable oil. They can damage the materials of the condom and affect how it works. 


  • Place the condom on the erect penis. If the penis is not erect, the condom will not fit properly or stay on. You will notice there is an opening on one end with a ring around it – this ring is to help keep the condom in place.  The other end of the condom has a pointed tip (reservoir) to collect any bodily fluid that is ejaculated from the penis. When placing the condom on the penis, make sure the ring is on the outside, and place it on the tip of the penis leaving a little room in the reservoir to collect the semen.


  • Once the condom is on the penis, gently squeeze the tip on the outside to remove as much air as possible inside the condom. Hold the tip of the condom and gently roll the ring all the way up the shaft of the penis. If you experience any difficulties rolling the condom, throw it away and try a new one. Difficulties rolling a condom may indicate it is damaged, it may be too old, or it was stored incorrectly.  Never use a brittle condom.


  • Once the condom is on correctly it should not move around or feel too tight and uncomfortable. It is extremely important to ensure you have the correctly sized condom for your penis.  If it is not the correct size it could cause the condom to break or fall off during intercourse, increasing the risk of pregnancy or transmission of an STI.


  • Once you have ejaculated, it is important to immediately remove the condom while the penis is still somewhat erect. Carefully and securely keep the condom in place while removing it from the penis. Be sure to always hold the condom by the ring end to ensure the collected semen does not fall out. Once you have removed the condom, properly dispose of it by twisting the ring end and wrapping it in a piece of tissue or paper and putting it in the garbage.  Do not flush the condom down the toilet.

Putting on a condom is not difficult; however, it may take a few tries to put one on properly and comfortably.  


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