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The History of Condoms

Condoms have been around for a very long time. Here's a brief summary of the history of condoms.

1000 BC
Condom use can be traced back several thousand years. Images from about 1000 BC portray the ancient Egyptians wearing a linen sheath. It's up for discussion as to whether they wore it for protection or for ritual reasons.

100 – 200 AD
The earliest evidence of condom use in Europe comes from scenes in cave paintings at Combarelles in France.

1500s
In Italy, research by Gabrielle Fallopius found the linen sheath useful for prevention of infection, and later its usefulness for the prevention of pregnancy was recognized.

1700s
How did condoms get their name? Some believe it was named for "Dr. Condom," who supplied King Charles II of England with animal tissue sheaths. Others believe the name came from a "Dr. Condon" or "Colonel Cundum." It likely came from the Latin word "condom," which means "receptacle."

1844
Goodyear and Hancock began to mass-produce condoms made out of vulcanized rubber, which is a stronger and more elastic material.

1861
The first advertisement for condoms was published in an American newspaper when The New York Times printed an ad for "Dr. Power's French Preventatives."

1873
The Comstock Law was passed. It prohibited the advertising of any sort of birth control, and it also allowed the postal service to confiscate condoms sold through the mail.

1880s
The first latex condom was produced, although it was to be the 1930s before these were in widespread use.

Early 1900s
Social hygienists fought to prohibit the use of condoms by Americans, resulting in U.S. troops in World War I having the highest rate of STDs — over 70%! By World War II, a more realistic attitude had emerged and the government aggressively promoted the use of condoms.

1960s
The sexual revolution of the '60s resulted in a decline in condom use as more and more youth practiced free love — without condom usage.

1980s
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was identified, and the Surgeon General stated that other than abstinence, the most effective way to protect against HIV is to use a latex condom each and every time you have sex.

1990s
The 1990s saw the introduction of a large number of different types of condoms, including colors, ribbed, studded, flavors, baggy-shaped and large, as well as the first polyurethane condom
 
2003
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