Practice safe sex is a message that we hear frequently. We may hear that safe sex message from our parents, friends, teachers, doctors, advertisements, public safety messages, and social media. With the risk of HIV and STDs, a single sexual act without protection can negatively affect the rest of your life. In order to protet ourselves, we rely on condoms are the barrier against STDs. In order to ensure that the condom is effective, it is imperative that the person knows how to use a condom the right way.
Using a latex condom consisently and properly during sexual activity can dramatically decrease the chance of spreading HIVand also be effective against the transmission other sexually transmitted diseases including chlamydia, genital herpes,gonorrhea, and syphilis. A condom should not only be used during vaginal penetrative sex, but also during oral and analsex. If a condom is not used with every sexual act, you are putting yourself at risk of spreading or acquiring an STD.
In order to ensure that a condom is being used correctly, it is important to do the following:
- Do not reuse a condom. Use a new condom for each act of intercourse.
- Put the condom on as soon as sn erection occurs and before any sexual contact with the penis (vaginal, oral, anal).
- When putting on the condom, squeeze the tip of the condom, and roll it down the penis erection. Make sure there is spaceat the tip of the condom, and no air is trapped at the tip. If any air is left at the tip, this can cause the condom tobreak during the sexual act.
- Use a personal lubricant will increase the effectiveness of the condom. Use a water based lubricant with the condom. Donot use any oil based lubricants such as vaseline, pertroleum jelly, baby oil, or lotion. These types of oil basedlubricants can break down the material of the condom which can cause the condom to break.
- As soon as ejaculation occurs, withdraw from your partner and hold the base of the condom to prevent the condom fromslipping off of the penis.
There are many styles of condoms for people who are sexually active to choose from. Studies show that latex condoms arehighly effective as a barrier again sperm, bacteria, and other micro-organisms. Individuals who are allergic to latex canuse polyurethane or polyisoperene condoms that are made of synthetic latex. Lab tests have shown that these types ofcondoms are also an effective barrier against sperm, bacteria, and other viruses. However, condoms that are made of Lambskin (which are made from animal membranez0 may help to prevent pregnancy, but are not shown to be very effective for STDor HIV prevention, as the viruses may pass through the holes in the membrane. Do not use these types of condoms toprotect yourself again HIV and STDs.
It is imperative that you check the expiration date of the condom. If the condom has expired, do not use it. Make sureyou store condoms in a cool area away from sunlight. heat and exposure to sunlight can also weaken the condom. It is also important to make sure that you are using the proper size of condom. There are smaller to condoms that are extra large in size. Using the proper size will also help to prevent condom slippage or breakage.
Remember, it only takes a single sexual act with an infected person to become exposed to an STD. In many cases, aninfected person may not show any signs or symptoms of having an STD. This does not mean that he or she does not have anSTD and cannot spread the infection. Be smart, respect yourself and others, and use protection.