The horrific rise of HIV in the 1980s decimated many communities and destroyed many lives. To help prevent the spread of HIV, however, many more people became much more conscientious about using condoms to provide penis protection – as well as protection that extends beyond penis health. Many doctors and public health professionals are concerned that nowadays, with advances made in treatment for HIV and AIDS, that condom use is slipping. But there’s still a great need for men to use condoms rather than engage in unprotected non-monogamous partner sex.
Antiretroviral therapies are now available that can help to treat an individual with HIV, although these treatments cannot cure HIV. However, they are helping many people with HIV to live much longer lives. In addition, there now is a pre-exposure prophylaxis option, which can be used by individuals without HIV to drastically reduce the possibility of them contracting AIDS.
Both of these developments are incredibly important and have changed the lives of millions of people. However, because of these changes, some men feel that there is less need to use condoms when having sex. That’s simply not the case.
First, pre-exposure prophylaxis does not have a 100 percent success rate (although its success rate is very high), so the possibility of contracting HIV does still exist. (To be accurate, use of condoms also does not have a 100 percent success rate.) But of equal importance, there are many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) other than HIV that a man might need to worry about. By not using condoms, men are making it much more likely that they will contract one of these other STIs (and potentially pass it on to other partners as well).
Among the STIs that one is less likely to contract if one regularly uses condoms are classics that most people have at least heard of, such as gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and chlamydia. But there are others that are perhaps a little less well known, such as:
- Trichomoniasis, which is caused by a parasite and may cause significant pain in the penis, especially when urinating or ejaculating. It is especially concerning in pregnant women, as it can lead to premature births.
- Genital warts, the appearance of which tends to put off many partners. These may itch and/or bleed, and may cause some discomfort.
- Pubic lice and scabies, tiny parasites that can cause serious itching and that can lead to infection if not treated. Wearing condoms helps prevent the spread of these parasites; however, they can still be passed on by skin-to-skin contact of unprotected areas (such as the balls or the crotch).
One other thing to remember: Although most STIs are passed on through unprotected skin-on-skin sex, it is possible for an infection to spread from shared use of sex toys, such as a vibrator. Using a condom and/or sterilizing sex toys before they are used by another can help reduce the chance of spreading STIs in this manner.
Many people feel that there is such a stigma attached to an STI that they’d rather not know if they have one. This is dangerous not only to themselves but to any sexual partners they have. Though an STI diagnosis can be scary, it is much better to know and get early treatment than to not know.
Condoms are a great start, but good penis protection requires more, such as efforts to maintain optimal penis health. One way to help achieve this goal is via daily use of a first-rate penis health oil (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). For best results, peruse labels and choose an oil that contains the essential vitamins, A, B5, C, D, and E, which benefit from topical application. In addition, the oil should contain L-arginine, an amino acid that plays a role in helping blood vessels to expand for better blood flow.