"Condom fatigue" and HIV prevention messages examined

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com November 09 2002 1:00 AM ET

Although most public health advocates say that condoms are the best technology science has to offer for preventing the transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, the much-promoted method is facing "condom fatigue," or a general weariness of the safer-sex message, The Washington Times reports. Safer-sex advocates say that as condom usage among teenagers has risen over the past decade--from 53% in 1993 to 58% in 2001--individuals' condom use falls as they age, with 68% of sexually active ninth-graders using condoms in 2001 compared with 49% of sexually active 12th-graders.

"Getting people to think about their own personal health needs is always difficult, whether it's convincing people to wear a condom or convincing people to brush their teeth," said Chicago Department of Public Health spokesman Tim Hadac. Condom promotion should not say "use this or die," but should be made part of everyday life, according to Stephen Mare, director of sales and marketing for Boston-based Global Protection Corp., a condom manufacturer and distributor.