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NEW YORK — As religious leaders and health advocates worldwide respond to Pope Benedict XVI’s recent acknowledgment that condoms reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, Planned Parenthood, as the single largest provider of sex education in communities across the United States, continues its work educating individuals about the risks of HIV/AIDS and helping them protect themselves from infection.

 The simple fact is that scientific research demonstrates that condoms are an effective and important tool in the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as other sexually transmitted infections. 

Leslie Kantor, MPH, national director of education initiatives at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, offers 10 little-known facts about condoms:

1.       When it comes to HIV,using a condom makes sex 10,000 times safer than not using a condom.[1]

2.       There is no medical reason why someone can’t use a condom.[2] Even people with latex allergies can use them — there are latex-free condoms made of polyurethane and polyisoprene.

3.       Condoms have been around a long, long time.  The earliest known illustration of a man using a condom is a 12,000–15,000-year-old painting on the wall of a cave in France.[3]  

4.       One in four acts of vaginal intercourse is condom-protected in the U.S.  It is one in three among single people.[4]

5.       People who use condoms feel their experiences are just as pleasurable as people who don’t.[5]

6.       Ninety-three percent of sexually active American women aged 15–44 have had a partner that used a male condom.[6]

7.       Condom availability in places of need around the world is increasing significantly, with 25.8 million female condoms provided through international and nongovernmental funding sources in 2009.  Condom distribution increased by 10 million between 2008 and 2009.[7]

8.       The condom is one of the most accessible and inexpensive forms of birth control available. The cost of condoms is as low as $0.04 per unit.[8] 

9.       The vast majority of American teens (68 percent of females and 82 percent of males) use a condom the first time they have sex.[9]

10.   Only 39 percent of American high school students are taught how to correctly use a condom in their health classes.[10]  Programs that teach young people about abstinence as well as contraception, including condom use, help youth to delay first sex and use condoms and other forms of contraception when they do have sex.[11]

“In the midst of the political and moral debate surrounding condoms in the last few days, it is critical that people who are sexually active reduce their risk of sexually transmitted diseases by using condoms,” Kantor explains.  ”Using a condom is always safer than not using a condom, and with the variety of condoms widely available today, everyone can find the fit and feel that’s right for them.”

PROPER ATTIRE® condoms, available in Planned Parenthood health centers, are just one example of new condoms available to consumers.  With fifteen glamorous styles, PROPER ATTIRE condoms are a safe, fun and stylish way to protect against pregnancy and STDs.

CONTACT: To schedule an interview with Leslie Kantor, national director of education initiatives at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, please contact the Planned Parenthood media office: 212-261-4433.


[1] Carey, Ronald F., et al. (1992). “Effectiveness of Latex Condoms as a Barrier to Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Sized Particles under Conditions of Simulated Use.” Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 19(4), 230–234.

[2] Hatcher, Robert A., et al. (2007). Contraceptive Technology, 19th revised edition, pp. 302. New York: Ardent Media.

[3] Parisot, Jeannette.  Johnny Come Lately:  A Short History of the Condom, 1985. London: Journeyman Press Ltd.

[4] Findings from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7 (Supplement 5).

[5] Sanders, Stephanie A., et al.  (2010). “Condom Use During Most Recent Vaginal Intercourse Event Among a Probability Sample of Adults in the United States.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7 (Supplement 5).

[6] Mosher, W.D. and J. Jones. (2010). Use of Contraception in the United States: 1982–2008. Vital and Health Statistics, 23,(29), Table 1. 

[7] UNAIDS. (2010). Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2010. Geneva: UNAIDS.

[8] UNAIDS. (2010). Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2010. Geneva: UNAIDS.

[9] Abma, J.C., et al. (2010). “Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing, National Survey of Family Growth 2006-2008.” Vital and Health Statistics. 23 (30), Table 14.

[10] CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010)., “HIV and Other STD Prevention and United States Students” Atlanta, GA: CDC.

[11] Kirby, Douglas. (2007). Emerging Answers 2007: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. 


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433


May 14, 2014


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