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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, February 25, 2005

Solving the tricky latex problem

 •  More advice columns

By Tanya Bricking Leach
Advertiser Staff Writer

Dear Tanya: I am a caring, attractive, down-to-earth, 45-year-old educated Asian woman. I am a single mom of a well-behaved teenage son.

To be honest, I am one of those mail-order brides and was married to a very difficult man who is lacking in social skills, can't seem to hold a decent job and who resents me for having a mind of my own.

I stayed married for 16 long years out of gratitude for his bringing me here, out of concern for our only son and the thought that he's going to have a hard time out there on his own. He's now retired, and we parted on good terms.

I find single life to be liberating and exhilarating. Financially, I am doing fine. I've been getting some propositions, but I am not in a rush for a relationship.

Besides, I have a medical problem. I have a latex allergy I developed from working in the healthcare field. No way I will have unprotected sex. I know there is an alternative to that latex stuff, but I am not sure how effective it is in preventing STDs, particularly HIV/AIDS.

Can you give me an idea how to deal with it without freaking out that special someone with whom I would like to share and enjoy life? The only way that I could think of is to have him tested and to remain exclusive.


Doggone it?

Would you date someone who didn't like your pet? If there was an ultimatum between your pet and your partner, who would go? Vote in our weekly relationships poll.

It's a good idea to get yourself and your partner tested, anyway. And I'd recommend having sex with someone only if you agree to be exclusive.

I'd be more freaked out by a surprise sexually transmitted disease than I would by a partner who was looking out for my safety.

But to answer your question, you can still have protected sex without using latex condoms.

Use condoms made from polyurethane (thin plastic), such as Avanti or Trojan Supra, or the female condom Reality. (Lambskin is too porous to prevent the transmission of disease.)

Polyurethane condoms are available at drugstores (sometimes at twice the price of latex condoms) or online (try Condomania .com). They are free at places such as the Life Foundation, Hawai'i's largest AIDS service organization.

Some studies say polyurethane condoms break more easily than latex ones. But experts say they are the best alternative to latex in preventing STDs, including HIV, which causes AIDS.

Need advice on a topic close to the heart? Write to relationships writer Tanya Bricking Leach at Kisses and Misses, The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802; or e-mail kissesandmisses@honoluluadvertiser.com.