THE BLOG
12/12/2011 11:45 am ET | Updated Feb 11, 2012

Condoms: Why Aren't More Americans Using Them?

A recent study on sexual health habits around the world found that, despite inspired PSAs like this one and clever ads like this one, the majority of Americans still aren't using condoms.

The Durex Global Survey -- released on December 1, 2011, World Aids Day -- found that six out of ten U.S. men and women didn't use any form of protection against HIV/AIDS or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) when they lost their virginity.

The global survey, which examined the sexual habits of 26,000 people in 26 countries, found that U.S. condom use was behind that of many other countries, including Mexico (where 49 percent of the population uses condoms) and Colombia (where 47 percent use condoms). The Durex study is not the first to show that Americans are behind the times when it comes to practicing safe sex; a 2011 study conducted by the not-for-profit Alan Guttmacher Institute comparing teen reproductive patterns in Great Britain, Canada, France, Sweden and the US found "although the rate of sexual activity among U.S. teens is similar to other developing countries, they don't use contraceptives as often as teens in other Western countries."

So why aren't Americans practicing safe sex? According to the Durex study, the most popular line of reasoning -- representing fully 49 percent of survey-takers -- was the respondent's confidence that his or her sexual partner was free of sexually transmitted infections. They felt this way despite the fact that 20 percent of people in relationships in the U.S. admitted to being unsure about their partner's sexual history and 24 percent of women who said they had risked sex without a condom for any reason said it was a mistake they later regretted.

Meanwhile, researchers at The Guttmacher Institute suggest that "limited access to healthcare and contraceptives" and "less social acceptance of teenage sexuality within the U.S." may be to blame.

In a country where almost half of high school age teens have had sex and sexually active teens who don't use a contraceptive run a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within a year's time, the results of these studies seem to bolster arguments for enhanced efforts at educating teens about safe sex -- well before they have time to become part of the previously-cited quarter of women who regret sexual risks later on.

While a Facebook campaign like the one Olla condoms ran targeting men probably wouldn't work for women -- most women don't need Facebook to inform them they're going to be mothers -- and the people who made these regrettable birth control ads shouldn't be let anywhere near this project, it might be worth getting the creative minds behind these condom ads to do a PSA to get young women protecting themselves a little more:

PHOTOS/VIDEO: 8 Genius Condom Ads

8 Genius Condom Ads