HIV PROTECTION: CONDOMS 101

When used correctly and consistently, condoms are an effective, inexpensive and easily accessible way to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as well as pregnancy. Protect yourself and your partner from transmitting dangerous STDs including HIV by using condoms very time you have sex.

Why Do I Need to Use a Condom?

Condoms can be 90 percent effective in protecting you from transmitting or contracting HIV and other dangerous STDs during sex.  In fact, they are the only type of contraception that also stops you from getting or giving STDs.

Protecting yourself from STDs including HIV will save you a lifetime of ongoing medical treatments and interventions that will be required to help you combat the effects of any disease you contract through unprotected sex. People who are HIV-positive also often battle stigma and fears that can negatively impact your personal relationships.  Using condoms correctly, every time, can also help prevent pregnancy.

External Vs. Internal Condoms

There are two types of condoms: external or male condoms and internal or female condoms. The most commonly used condom is an external condom, a thin piece of rubber worn on the penis during vaginal, anal or oral sex. It creates a barrier to stop fluids from entering the body.

While external latex condoms are the most common, there are also internal condoms. Internal condoms are primarily used for vaginal sex, but they can also be used for anal sex. Internal condoms are also hypoallergenic, making them a good option if you or your partner is sensitive to latex. The internal condom also prevents fluids from entering the body. Whether you choose an external or internal condom to use for protection against HIV and other STDs, it is important to only use one condom to prevent tearing that would compromise the condom.

And, for the condom to provide maximum protection, it must be used consistently and correctly. If a condom fails to provide protection, it is typically the result of inconsistent or incorrect use. In order to prevent breakage and slippage be sure to use water-based or silicone-based lubrication during sex. Avoid oil-based lubricants (petroleum jelly, shortening, mineral oil, massage oils, body lotions, and cooking oil) because they can weaken latex and cause the condom to break.

If you feel the condom break at any point during sexual activity, stop immediately, remove the broken condom and put on a new condom.

The Condom Conversation

Do not be afraid or embarrassed to talk to your partner about using condoms. Put your health and the health of your partner first by making protection a priority. Remember, it is not a trust issue, it is a health and safety issue. If your partner refuses to use protection, the smart choice is to decline sex.

It can be difficult to make the healthiest, safest choice in the heat of the moment, so make sure you have easy access to condoms to help you avoid the pressure of unprotected sex. There are many condom options now available that make sex safer and also more enjoyable for you and your partner.

Get Protection

Protect yourself from HIV and STD transmissions by using condoms during sex. Both external and internal condoms are available for free from RESOURCE and can be purchased at any convenience store, pharmacy, healthcare clinic or grocery store.

Be prepared, stay protected.

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