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Posted at 8:51 PM ET, 05/27/2010

D.C.'s wise decision to encourage safe sex

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Laura Meyers
Washington

Thank you to Courtland Milloy for clarifying the facts leading to the District’s decision to offer Trojan brand condoms at the request of District youth [“D.C.’s extra-large effort in promoting safe sex should be applauded,” Metro, May.26]. Also, thank you to D.C. Department of Health officials, as well as D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), for their courage and pragmatism in addressing the District’s alarmingly high rates of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and teen pregnancy.

Chris Krisinger’s comments about “nutty social, public policy” [letters, May 25] highlight the need to get the facts out and to make public health policies based on scientific evidence about what works. Mr. Krisinger argues for encouraging abstinence, which studies have demonstrated does not work. On the other hand, distributing condoms that sexually active youth will use is a wise investment because condom use does prevent the spread of STIs.

While some may snicker at teens expressing their preference for a particular brand of condom or deride teens for not remaining abstinent, I agree with Mr. Milloy that we should support their intent to use condoms when sexually active. If offering a preferred brand of condoms leads to fewer STIs and unintended pregnancies, the decision to do so would rightly be hailed as a successful prevention strategy as well as a smart use of taxpayer dollars.

The writer is chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | May 27, 2010; 8:51 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, public health  
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Comments

As a former sex lecturer & instructor, I have spent over 20 years with HIV & STI prevention programs. The idea that DC youth think they need bigger condoms comes as no surprise in fact if you ask teenage men in any city they will give you the same answer. They are all endowed with equipment that is too large for an average condom. Most young men are “well hung and have a very active sex life” when questioned – unless the questions are being ask by their parents.
In lectures on condom use I often unroll the average condom to demonstrate their strength and ability of cover the very larges area of the male antimony. The condom can be unrolled to not only cover my fist but most of my forearm as well. I dare say that is more room than they average man needs or uses in a condom. The fact that despite conjecture condom use is more that pulling a condom out of your wallet, unroll, use and dispose. If young men and women are not instructed on how to store, put on, use and remove safely no mater what the size of the condom – it will fail.

There is a great risk to people who try to use condoms that are too large for their antimony. A condom that is too big is more prone to slippage, breakage and unplanned removal – A condom that is too large will not help stem the rate of infection but may well add to it.

If some of the current size condoms were marked as large then those young men who feel as if they need them will feel good about themselves and hopefully use them while still keeping there teenage egos in place.

Posted by: Determined1 | May 28, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

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