Condoms have come a long way since the animal bladders and intestines our forefathers braved (phew!). Though sometimes forgotten, condoms aren't used just for contraception.
When used correctly, condoms are highly effective in providing protection against HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus that attacks the body’s immune system and can lead to AIDS. Globally an estimated 33.3 million people have HIV, and more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus (making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history).
Today is World AIDS Day, a day to show support for people living with HIV. It’s also a day to raise awareness about sexual health.
Maybe you’ve never really wondered how a condom is made (you know, in the heat of the moment and stuff). But with great pleasure (tehe) we bring you this video showing the rigorous testing condoms undergo. All that poking, prodding, inspecting, and inflating (up to three feet high and one foot wide!) helps ensure condoms’ dependability and safety.
Though this video has certainly got its humorous points — the narrator’s voice and the similarity to a 7th-grade health class film, for starters — it’s hard not to appreciate all the work that goes into a pocket-sized way to stay safe.
Here are a few things you may not know about the condom
- Ancient Egyptians allegedly used condoms made from animal bladders or intestines as early as 1350 BC.
- Giacomo Girolama Casanova de Seingalt (re: the "Casanova") referred to condoms as “English frock coats” in the 18th century.
- It's almost impossible to pinpoint where the word "condom" came from: Some point to a mysterious "Dr. Condom" who served under King Charles II in the 18th century, others trace it back to the medieval latin "quondam" (slang for genitals); Chaucer, who spelled it "condam," the latin "condus" (meaning receptable), or the Italian "guantone" (meaning glove).
- Charles Goodyear (yes, as in the tires) obtained the first rubber condom patent in 1844.
- The average U.S. condom user is between the ages of 18 and 24.
- The U.S. military uses to condoms to stop bleeding, and to keep sand and dirt out of the barrel of a gun.
- About 70 percent of condom purchases are made by men.
- Artist Adriana Bertini fashioned a dress out of 1200 hand-dyed condoms. She’s been making dresses out of quality-test rejected condoms for a decade.
- An average condom can hold approximately one gallon of liquid.
- Manhattan’s Museum of Sex chronicled the evolution of the condom in its exhibit “Rubbers: The Life, History & Struggle of the Condom.”
- There used to be 70,000 condoms available for athletes at the Olympic village. Since the Sydney games, that number has grown to 100,000.
How will you raise sexual awareness this World AIDS Month? Let us know in the comment section below, or tweet the author @nicmcdermott.