Researchers are raising concerns about improper use of condoms in the United States and its implications in public health.

Problems with the correct use of the male condom, such as not wearing a condom throughout sex or putting it on upside down, are common in the U.S. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on reproductive health, 17.4 women out of 100 get pregnant unintentionally due to misuse of male condoms.

A collection of studies published in the journal Sexual Health provides a global perspective on condom use problems and errors, factors influencing correct condom use, how condom use programs can be more effective, and the promotion of the female condom.

Spearheaded by The Kinsey Institute Condom Use Research Team (CURT), more than 20 scientists from various parts of the globe met to analyze and discuss the safe sex practices of American adults, along with other safe sex issues around the world. The CURT researchers believe that proper education on how to use condoms properly, will ultimately lead to the reduction of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseased such as HIV.

“While we like to think the AIDS epidemic is going away, it’s not. In the U.S., it’s getting worse”, said Richard Crosby a member of CURT, and professor at the University of Kentucky. “We keep looking to medical doctors for the solution to the epidemic, but it’s the wrong paradigm. We can prevent small pox, SARS, cholera and a host of other infectious diseases. The prevention of the disease is the modern solution to the AIDS pandemic, and we need to begin applying that solution in earnest.”

Crosby said that many times discomfort or embarrassment about discussing sexual issues often lead to a lack of education, which is costly to a persons health or life.

“We chronically underestimate how complicated condom use can be,” he said. “It involves the use of a condom, while negotiating the condom use and sex with a partner all at the same time. There is a complex triad of the sex act, condom use and partner dynamics that must constantly be navigated by condom users.”