Southern Gay Men’s Health Project (SGMHP), along with many other HIV and
AIDS organisations in Ireland and the UK, have changed the advice that we
are giving to gay and bisexual men about which condoms are appropriate for
gay sex. The message of this campaign is that any Kite-marked or CE-marked
condom with adequate lubricant is suitable for anal sex.
Since the early 80s, when HIV was first discovered, extra-strong condoms
have been recommended for anal sex. However, research has shown that there
is no difference in failure rates between standard and extra-strong
condoms when used for anal sex.
“Having followed the research for some time, we are now beginning to give
out standard condoms. The usage of thinner condoms not only means that
anal sex will feel better – a complaint laid against extra-strong
condoms – it enables gay men to be aware that if for any reason they don’t
happen to have extra-strong condoms to hand that regular condom and
adequate lube is as safe,” says Paul Madden, Outreach Worker with SGMHP.
“Whether standard condoms or extra-strong condoms are used,” he continued,
“is up to an individuals personal choice. The objective of this campaign
is to inform our community of current thinking to enable them to make the
best informed choices with regards to their sexual health.”
From the first weekend in November SGMHP will be distributing their condom
packs with regular strength condoms in them. Outreach Volunteers will be
in all gay bars and pubs around Cork city with the condom packs and
information cards. “Studies have found that inappropriate use of lubricant
was the chief cause of condom failure,” says Madden, “Our advice is,
unroll the condom on to the penis; use a lot lubricant, applying the
lubricant to the outside of the condom only, and apply additional
lubricant in and around the anus.”
Condoms and lubricant are available, free of charge from Cork Gay
Community Development Project on 8 South Main Street.
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