No type of condom prevents pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
100% of the time. But if you and your partner are having sex, nothing protects against
STDs better than a properly used condom.
For those having sex, condoms must always be used to protect against STDs, even
when using another method of birth control. They must be used correctly and must be
used every time you have sex. Even when used correctly, condoms do not protect against
infections spread from sores on the skin not covered by a condom (such as the base
of the penis or scrotum).
Using a condom correctly doesn't only mean putting it on right side out. You should
Check the expiration date (condoms can dry and crack if they're old).
Choose condoms made of latex, which is thought to be most effective in preventing
STDs. If one of you has an allergy to latex, use polyurethane condoms instead.
Keep condoms away from heat and light, which can make them more likely to break.
Only use water-based lubricants with condoms. Shortening, lotion, petroleum jelly,
or baby oil can break down the condom.
Open the condom packet with your hands, not your teeth, and open it carefully
so you don't tear the condom.
Choose a condom with a reservoir tip to catch semen after ejaculation. Lightly
pinch the top of the condom and place it at the top of your (or your partner's) penis.
This gets rid of trapped air, which can cause a condom to burst.
Roll the condom down until it's completely rolled out — if it's inside out,
throw it away and start over.
When you're done, you (or your partner) should withdraw while holding the condom
at the base of the penis to prevent the condom from slipping off.
If a condom breaks or slips off and you are concerned about pregnancy, call your
health care provider or pharmacist to discuss emergency contraception. And both partners
should be tested for STDs.
While condoms aren't perfect, if you're going to have sex, they are the best way
to protect yourself.