Condoms offer effective protection against the most serious sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and they are also probably the most accessible form of contraception for adolescents and younger adults (Katherine Dexter 2004). In 2000, almost half of all new STI infections were among adolescents ages 15 to 24, with human papillomavirus and HIV leading the infection rates (Chesson 2004). Although STIs present a multitude of health risks and consequences, many adolescents, including those who use condoms, are unaware of the potential harm from STIs. A study among college students found that within those who did use condoms, they still showed little concern for the issues of STIs and HIV. Instead, they were concerned with their partner's perceptions of condom use (Edgar 1992). This demonstrates how intricately involved interpersonal communication is in condom use, perhaps more important than the fear of STI risk. The study also suggests that those individuals who promoted condom use in the sexual activity had an internalized value for the precautionary measure of condom use.
[...] Edgar, Timothy, et al. (1992). Strategic Sexual Communication: Condom use resistance and response. Health Communication. 83-104. Eisenberg, Maria E., et al. (2004). Parents' beliefs about condoms and oral contraceptives. Perspectives on Sexual and [...]
[...] Even though condom education is not favored and often overlooked by parents of more conservative values, there is an opportunity to associate condom education with conservatism and increase its promotion within families through sexual education. Sexual education has gone through many generations of methods and values, but what has evolved is the reliance on the health belief model, so that there are elements and information targeting teens at all stages of their decision making. Sexual decisions exist very much in the private and public spheres, so they can be both incredibly individualized and incredibly publicized at the same time. [...]
[...] By targeting a more upper-middle class, conservative and family-oriented subgroup, this media would use their conservatism as a springboard for accepting and promoting condom education within their family. The objective of the media is not to change their moral views on sexuality, but to change their view of condom education as a “non-conservative” issue. Teaching abstinence as a value is certainly sensible, but parents must also inform their kids of the next best way to protect themselves, so that they are prepared to enter into sexuality safely at whatever point they do (perhaps in ten years, or at the point of marriage). [...]
[...] Although numerous studies have shown that abstinence only education does not delay or reduce the frequency of sexual activity, parents with more conservative political and social values may place more faith in abstinence-only information for their children (Kirby 1991). The surgeon general states that accurate information about contraceptive methods can reduce the risk in sexual behavior, yet inside the home, it is the parents' values that dictate sexual education (Eisenberg 2004). Despite the fact that there is overwhelming evidence for the benefit of condoms in reducing STI risk, a substantial proportion of parents still underestimate the effectiveness of condoms. [...]
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