Many Male College Students Use Condoms Incorrectly, Study Says
Many men in college do not use condoms correctly, according to a study conducted at Indiana University-Bloomington and published in this month's issue of the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Reuters Health reports. Dr. Richard Crosby of Emory University's Center for AIDS Research in Atlanta and colleagues surveyed 158 heterosexual male students at Indiana University-Bloomington. Each of the students reported having used a condom in the previous three months. According to the survey, 30% of the students reported placing the condom upside down on the penis and having to flip it over, and 40% reported that they did not leave space for semen at the tip of the condom. In addition, 43% of the men reported putting on a condom after beginning to have sex, and 15% of the men said they had taken off a condom before they were finished having sex. Nearly one-third of the study participants reported incidents of a condom breaking during sexual intercourse and 13% reported that the condom "slipped off" during sex (Reuters Health, 9/5). Crosby said that the breakage and slippage of condoms is likely due to "condom-use errors" and not defective condoms (Marcus, HealthScoutNews/Yahoo! News, 9/4). The researchers also reported that 60% of the men did not discuss condom use with their partners before sex, and 42% reported instances when they wanted to use a condom but did not have any available (Reuters Health, 9/5).
Condom-Use Education Important
Mark Schuster, a pediatrician and director of the UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion, said that the findings were especially "alarming" because one would assume that college students are "smart[er]" than high school or middle school students, adding, "These are men who are having a lot of regular sex, and even though they are using condoms, they are using them incorrectly" (Kelleher, Los Angeles Times, 9/9). "This research suggests that promoting consistent condom use may not be enough. It is important to provide adequate condom-use education and skills-building instruction so that sexually active young men know how to use condoms correctly," the authors concluded (Reuters Health, 9/5). Jane Bogart, director of the Center for Health Promotion at New York University Health Center and a condom-use instructor, added that instructions on how to use a condom should be included on individual packages as well as on boxes of condoms (Los Angeles Times, 9/9). Jon Knowles, director of public information for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that women - in addition to men - should learn proper condom use to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy (HealthScoutNews/Yahoo! News, 9/4).