Condoms are made up of polymers of rubber latex which undergoes gradual deterioration upon exposure to environmental conditions like high heat, ultraviolet light and humidity. This natural aging can also be simulated in laboratory and comparable results observed within short time. Deteriorated condoms show poor tensile strength and higher breakage rates. The breakage rate and permeability of condoms can be tested in laboratory. This study aimed to determine the effects of high heat, humidity, sunlight and visible light on integrity and breakage of condom latex. Sample condoms were exposed to different environmental conditions and their permeability and brakeage rates were tested in laboratories of drug administration and control authority of Ethiopia. The air burst test results showed some differences in bursting pressures and bursting volumes for the aged and control groups of the different branded condoms and even much higher difference between the breakage rates of the same during vaginal sex. On the other hand, there were observed closely comparable permeability status results. There was no significant effect of artificial and natural aging on permeability status of condoms. On the other hand, there was observed significant association between the artificial aging factors and condoms breakage rates in laboratory. Drug administration and control authority and other responsible bodies should promote good handling of condoms by keeping away from high heat, UV- light and humidity.
Key words: Condoms, artificial aging, natural aging, permeability, breakage
HIV, Human immunodeficiency virus; AIDS, acquired immune deficiency syndrome; STD, sexually transmitted diseases; FDA, Food and Drug Administration; ISO, International Organization for Standardization; WHO, World Health Organization; USAID, United States Agency for International Development; ASTM, American Society for Testing and Materials; CEN, Comité Europeas de Normalización; UV, ultraviolet light; PATH, program for appropriate technology in health; USA, United States of America; C.QI, condom quality index; FHI, Family Health International; DACA, Drug Administration and Control Authority of Ethiopia
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