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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Survey: UA men often not using condoms the right way

    Compared to other male college students across the nation, UA students make sure to discuss condom use with their partners, but are about the same as the rest of the country in their rate of misuse, according to two health surveys.

    A survey conducted by national sexual health organization Condom Hall found that the majority of 858 sexually active college men at 18 universities do not always use condoms properly.

    The results of an Arizona Daily Wildcat survey randomly administered to 50 male students on campus found that UA students surpass their peers in some effective condom-use habits, but are significantly below national averages in others.

    UA students are more likely than their college peers to discuss condom use with their partners before sex, leave space for semen at the tip of a condom and experience no condom breakage.

    However, UA students are also more likely to take a condom off before finishing sex, have a condom slip off during sex and not have a condom available when they want to use one; habits which all increase the risks of sexually transmitted disease transmission and pregnancy.

    Additionally, 58 percent of UA men surveyed reported that within the last two months, they waited until after they started having sexual intercourse to put a condom on, which can dramatically reduce effectiveness, according to UA health educator Lee Ann Hamilton.

    “”They’ve got to be put on before skin-to-skin contact, and they should be used from start to finish,”” Hamilton said.

    Tommy Bobnick, a political science senior, said he thinks men expect their female sexual partners to worry about things like pregnancy.

    “”I think most men rely on the woman for birth control, unfortunately,”” Bobnick said. “”Or basically they don’t care if something goes wrong because it won’t happen to them.””

    Hamilton said there are easy tips to follow to maximize a condom’s effectiveness. Leaving space at the condom’s tip, being sure to eliminate air bubbles while rolling the condom down, opening the package carefully and using a water-based lubricant are all important, Hamilton said.

    “”No peanut butter or Kool Whip or anything that has oil in it (should be used as lubricant),”” Hamilton said.

    Hamilton also advised students not to store their condoms in hot, bright or high-friction areas like wallets, windowsills or car glove compartments, and to check expiration dates.

    “”Don’t keep it (in your wallet) to try to impress your friends when it falls out when you take out your ID at the Rec Center,”” Hamilton said.

    Hamilton attributed student misuse to factors including lack of experience, ignorance and embarrassment about asking someone for advice on proper use.

    She said although it may feel silly, students who have not used condoms before could practice using them to make sure they’re comfortable when the time comes.

    “”Like anything, you need to practice it to do it correctly,”” Hamilton said. “”It wouldn’t be a bad idea, and they’re pretty inexpensive.””

    Rick C. Powell, an undeclared sophomore, said he attributes the high rate of condom misuse in students to the college atmosphere itself.

    “”There’s pressure at parties to have sex, there’s alcohol involved,”” Powell said. “”If a condom’s not available, you’re in a position where you want to (have sex) anyway.””

    Finance senior John Cross agreed that alcohol could negatively affect a student’s judgment and ability to protect their sexual health.

    “”As far as not using (condoms) properly, (students) either just don’t know how to put one on or are too inebriated,”” Cross said.

    Powell said he also thinks ineffective sexual education classes have a negative effect on student attitudes toward birth control in the future.

    “”I think a lot of education programs preach abstinence, and I think the best way to do (those programs) is not to preach abstinence but safe sex,”” Powell said.

    Hamilton said students should realize that taking the time to find out how to use a condom properly and always putting health first is a way to protect their futures.

    “”(Using a condom is) a skill that can prevent a disease, prevent a pregnancy or even save a life,”” Hamilton said.

    More information about condoms, including instructions on how to put one on, can be found at www.health.arizona.edu.

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