Life is all about choices but when it comes to condoms and HIV, its pretty good. Condoms reduce the risk of spreading HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Studies show that if used correctly, condoms offer strong protection against HIV.
There’s an added benefit of also reducing the risk of other STIs. These includes STIs such as chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and syphilis. You can get an STI through having sex — vaginal, anal, or oral.
A condom acts as a barrier or wall to keep blood, or semen, or vaginal fluids from passing from one person to the other during intercourse. These fluids can harbor germs such as HIV and other STIs. Without a condom, the germs can pass from the infected partner to the uninfected partner.
To best protect against HIV, condoms can be used in combination with other prevention methods such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or an undetectable viral load.
What types of condoms are available?
Two types of condoms are available to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV:
The external condom, also known as the male condom. It is a sheath made from polyurethane, latex or polyisoprene. This covers the penis during sexual intercourse. There are many types and brands of external condoms available.
The internal condom, also known as the female condom. It is a pouch made of polyurethane or nitrile. The internal condom was designed for vaginal sex but can also be used for anal sex. The pouch is open at one end and closed at the other, with a flexible ring at both ends. The ring at the closed end is inserted into the vagina or anus to hold the condom in place. The ring at the open end of the pouch remains outside of the vagina or anus.
Why is it important to use condoms correctly?
It is important to use condoms correctly. Because incorrect use can cause a condom to break, slip or leak during sex. This can compromise condom effectiveness by allowing vulnerable body parts to come into contact with fluids containing HIV. Other types of incorrect use can also increase the risk of HIV transmission, such as putting a condom on too late or removing the condom too early.
Dos and Don’ts of condoms to protect against HIV
- Always use a condom every time you have s3x.
- Be sure to put on a condom before having s3x.
- Always read the package and check the expiration date.
- Make sure there are no tears or defects.
- Store condoms in a cool, dry place.
- Use latex or polyurethane condoms.
- Use water-based or silicone-based lubricant to prevent breakage.
- Never store condoms in your wallet as heat and friction can damage them.
- Avoid the use oil-based products such as baby oil, lotion, petroleum jelly, or cooking oil because they will cause the condom to break.
- Also avoid using nonoxynol-9 (a spermicide), as this can cause irritation.
- Never use different types of condoms at a time.
- Do not reuse a condom.
How to use condoms to reduce your risk of contracting HIV
We’ve set out some steps to follow when using condoms – it may seem like a lot but it quickly becomes second nature.
- Check the expiry date! Also make sure the condom is fresh and that it hasn’t been stored for long periods in warm places or in direct sunlight.
- Open the packet carefully. Push the condom into the opposite corner of the package from the corner that you are tearing.
- Avoid using your teeth or nails when opening the package so you don’t rip the condom.
- Make sure it is the right way up. Be sure that the roll of latex is on the outside, not the inside.
- Squeeze the air out of the tip of the condom.
- Don’t put a lot of lube on the dick before rolling on the condom because then it is likely to slide off.
- Roll the condom all the way down to the base of the dick.
- Apply lots of lube to the outside of the condom.
- After sex, hold on to the condom at the base of your dick as you pull out. Otherwise it may stay inside her.
- Tie it in a knot and put it in the bin. Do not flush down the toilet.
- If you feel the condom break at any point during sexual activity, stop immediately, withdraw, remove the broken condom, and put on a new condom.
- Use a new condom if you want to have sex again or in a different way.
Should I use a lubricant with a condom?
Some condoms are already lubricated with dry silicone, jellies, or creams. If you buy condoms not already lubricated, it’s a good idea to apply some yourself. Lubricants may help prevent condoms from breaking during use and may prevent irritation, which might increase the chance of infection.
If you use a separate lubricant, be sure to use one that’s water-based and made for this purpose. If you’re not sure which to choose, ask your pharmacist.
No matter your sexual habits or preferences, condoms remain one of the best ways to stay safe. If you regularly have sex or planning one soon, it’s always a great idea to have condoms readily available. Always have them in an easy-to-access place so you don’t need to break the mood to get them.