Condoms or sheaths are the oldest form of barrier contraceptive used majorly by the male. It was suggested that the ancient Egyptians were among the first set of people to wear them. The earliest description of condoms was by the great Italian anatomist Gabriello Fallopio in 1564,which was published two years after his death. He claimed to have invented a linen sheath made to fit the glans and it was worn for protection against syphilis.
There are three types of condoms materials used which includes natural materials,latex rubbers and plastic. Natural condoms are an effective barrier against sperm and bacterial STDs but do not protect against viral organisms such as HIV,which are smaller than bacteria. Natural condoms allow the transfer of body heat between partners. Latex condoms are less porous than natural condoms and hence form a more effective barrier that can block smaller organisms,such as HIV. They reduce heat transfer that may contribute to reduce sexual pleasure. Plastic or polyurethane condoms are under development. They provide an effective barrier against HIv as well as bacterial STDs while at the same time allowing better transfer of heat. They are thinner than latex condoms and increase sensitivity.
Condoms are made in different lengths and widths. Different manufacturers produce varying sizes. There is no standard length for condoms, and they are increasingly made in a range of sizes. The width of a condom also varies. Some condoms have a slightly small width to give closer fit while others will be slightly larger.
Condoms act as a barrier contraception preventing contact between semen and the opposite genitalia. It also prevents direct skin to skin contact of the penile gland and penis shaft and prevents contact from penile,vaginal or anal secretions.
Condoms confer full protection only in conditions causing urethral discharge. In conditions such as syphilitic chancre, condyloma acuminate, and giant herpetic ulcer,only parts covered by a condoms are protected. A condom chancre is a penile chancre close to the radix penis which is an area beyond the protection of a condom.
The reason for choosing condoms over other spacing family planning methods is the dear of side effects of other modern spacing methods. The most common reason for discontinuing oral pills and intrauterine devices within a year of their use were concerns with side effects or health concerns. The protective efficacy of condoms is different from STIs,the highest being against HIV, hepatitis B, and N. gonorrhoea ( more than 90%). Condoms also offer protection when alternate sexual practices are adapted.
Certain issues with condoms use include condom use errors such as late application,early removal, slipping and latex allergy. Female condoms are the only available female driven devices and offer considerable protection against different STIs. Graphene condoms and nano lubricated condoms represent the future of condoms. Condoms are been coated with spermicides and microbicides,having similar protection for different mucosa. Both correct and consistent use of condoms is necessary for STIs and HIV prevention and is in the true sense,the need of the hour.
Coronavirus has already caused tens of thousands of businesses to close their doors, and now, the virus is coming after the condom factories. One of the world’s biggest condom manufacturer,Karex Bhd in Malaysia has been forced to close shop. Known to be one of the major producers of one of the five condoms used around the world,this can be seen as a huge loss. No single condom has been produced ever since the spread of the deadly virus.
With the rapid spread of COVID-19, most condom manufacturing industries have been forced to close down due to the lockdown imposed. It was noted that there may be a global shortage of condoms everywhere, which was going to be scary.
It was noted that the shutdown had caused a shortage of 100million condoms,normally marketed internationally by brnads such as Durex, supplied to state health care system such as Britain’s NHS or distributed by aid programmes such as UN population Fund.