If becoming pregnant or giving birth is something you want to avoid, it would be best to become well-informed about contraception. Birth control or contraception is a course of therapy of one or more actions, devices, or medications that prevents pregnancy. The mechanisms responsible for lessening the possibility of the fertilization of an ovum by a spermatozoon can be precisely referred to as contraception. Probably one of the most popular birth control methods for a long time now is the use of condom. Condoms are a barrier method of contraception that, when used consistently and correctly, can prevent pregnancy by blocking the passage of semen into the vaginal canal. Condoms can also prevent the exchange of blood, semen, and vaginal secretions which are the primary routes of STD transmission. Despite what you might think, condoms are not a modern-day innovation. The history of the condom can be traced back several thousand years to Ancient Egypt when it was used to guard against disease and infection, just as it is today. It is believed that the Egyptians had used their own version of the condom as far back as 1,000 B.C.
There are two possible explanations for how the condom got its name. It may be derived from Condus, the Latin word for receptacle. Another theory is that it got its name from the physician of Charles II of England, Dr. Condom or Quondam, who made his king sheaths of animal gut. The earliest evidence of condom use in Europe are scenes from cave paintings at Combarelles in France which dated back as early as 100 to 200 A.D.
The first known published description and trials regarding prophylactic condom use were recorded by the Italian Gabrielle Fallopius in the 1500s. He claimed to have invented a sheath made of linen and conducted trials amongst 1,100 men using the condom. It was reported that none of those men became infected with syphilis.
The condom, made of animal gut, became well known and increased in popularity in the 1700s. Literature of that time suggests that the condom’s contraceptive (rather than just prophylactic) properties had already been realized. By 1766, many shops were producing handbills and advertisements to sell condoms.
The Japanese are known to have used two types of condom. The “Kawagata” or “Kyotai” was made of thin leather and the “Kabutogata” was made from tortoiseshell or horn.
The rubber condom was developed shortly after the creation of vulcanized rubber in the 1840’s, by Goodyear and Hancock. Vulcanization is the method or process of treating crude rubber with sulphur and subjecting it to intense heat. This process turns the rubber into a strong elastic material. In the 1930’s liquid latex manufacturing superseded crepe rubber. It is still the basis for manufacture today. During the 1990’s, new technology considerably improved the condom and enabled the production of far more sophisticated versions.
In recent years, as a result of misinformation and insufficient research, the efficacy of condoms as a birth control method and a means of STD prevention has been debated in many forums. However, research continues to show that condoms are one of the best methods of preventing unwanted pregnancy and having protection against STDs including HIV.
Now in the new millenium, the new condom revolution is making record waves in the history of birth control and the condoms future is looking brighter than ever.