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Condoms have also become increasingly important in efforts to fight the AIDS pandemic.The oldest condoms ever excavated were found in a cesspit located in the grounds of Dudley Castle and were made from animal membrane, the condoms dated back to as early as 1642.
Glans condoms seem to have been used for birth control, and to have been known only by members of the upper classes.After the publication of De Morbo Gallico, use of penis coverings to protect from disease is described in a wide variety of literature throughout Europe.The first indication these devices were used for birth control, rather than disease prevention, is the 1605 theological publication De iustitia et iure (On justice and law) by Catholic theologian Leonardus Lessius: he condemned them as immoral.In addition to linen, condoms during the Renaissance were made out of intestines and bladder.Cleaned and prepared intestine for use in glove making had been sold commercially since at least the 13th century.Contraceptives fell out of use in Europe after the decline of the Roman Empire in the 5th century; the use of contraceptive pessaries, for example, is not documented again until the 15th century.
If condoms were used during the Roman Empire, knowledge of them may have been lost during its decline.
The first explicit description that un petit linge (a small cloth) was used to prevent pregnancy is from 1655: a French novel and play titled L'Escole des Filles (The Philosophy of Girls).
In 1666, the English Birth Rate Commission attributed a recent downward fertility rate to use of "condons", the first documented use of that word (or any similar spelling).
In 16th century Italy, Gabriele Falloppio authored the earliest uncontested description of condom use.
De Morbo Gallico ("The French Disease", referring to syphilis) was published in 1564, two years after Fallopio's death.
In this tract, he recommended use of a device he claimed to have invented: linen sheaths soaked in a chemical solution and allowed to dry before use.