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'Eco-sexuals' in Australia concerned about the environmental impact of condoms are reportedly opting out of using protection.
The strange move appears to be because most condoms are made from non-biodegradable materials and contain a number of chemicals.
Polyurethane condoms are not biodegradable or recyclable, but it's not yet known exactly how long latex condoms take to degrade.
Interestingly, the decision to avoid this type of protection correlates with a recent spike in sexually transmitted infections in New South Wales.
Figures from a recent study have shown a huge rise in STIs, including chlamydia and gonorrhoea, over the past 10 years.
According to the Daily Telegraph, there were just 13,945 cases of chlamydia in NSW in 2008, however that figure exploded to more than 32,000 in 2019.
The number dropped last year to just 26,000, with lockdown restrictions keeping clubs closed and people apart to blame.
But it's worth mentioning that influenza cases fell from 115,000 in 2019 to just 7,000 in 2020.
While other degradable condom options are available - such as lambskin - they don't protect against STIs and are derived from animals, making them unsuitable for many 'eco-sexuals'.
Sexual health expert Professor John Scott said social media has been a breeding ground for activists to encourage other not to use condoms. He reckons this avenue is contributing to the worrying decline in condom usage.
"I wouldn't discount the impact. If you're someone that's environmentally woke, you are going to have these competing things to consider - the environment or sexual health," he told News Corp.
"It's the irony because having more people on Earth isn't good for the environment," he said.
"Getting the right messaging around safe sex out will be hard as there are all these competing 'truths'.
"I don't think we take the health authorities as seriously as we once did."
Sex expert Georgia Grace said the range of contraception that is both environmentally friendly and effective at stopping STIs is now growing.
These include condoms made with sustainably grown non-GMO rubber that are free of chemicals like glycerine, parabens and talc.
Image credit: Deon Black
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