Condom Use

Why use a condom?

An STI (sexually transmitted infection), previously known as an STD (sexually transmitted disease), is an infection that can be spread during sexual contact with other people.

External and internal condoms, also known as male and female condoms, prevent against getting pregnant and reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. Using condoms is a great way to show trust, respect and confidence between you and your partner.

What if I am allergic to latex?

People with a latex allergy can use polyurethane (non-latex) condoms. Polyurethane condoms are just as effective as latex condoms in preventing pregnancy and infection.

Dual Protection

If preventing pregnancy is important for you, use dual protection, which means using condoms along with a second form of birth control (e.g. the pill). You can also use dental (oral) dams and condoms for protection during oral sex.

Myths

  • “Two (2) condoms are better than one” – false.
    Using two external (male) condoms at the same time isn’t recommended for pregnancy prevention or as a safer sex method. In fact, “double-bagging” as it is sometimes called, can increase the friction between the condoms during intercourse, making them more likely to rip or tear. Using two condoms at once is, in fact, counterproductive. The same goes for using an external (male) condom and internal (female) condom at the same time.
  • “It is okay to wash and reuse a condom” – false.
    Never reuse condoms. Use a new condom each time you have intercourse!

What if the condom breaks?

This very rarely happens with the condoms that are available today. Condom breakage also does not necessarily lead to pregnancy. Reasons for breakage are rough handling, use of oil-based lubricant on latex condoms or expired condoms.

If the condom breaks, immediately insert spermicidal foam or gel. You can also inquire about emergency contraception (EC), also known as the “morning after pill.” Emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse or when a contraceptive method has failed or wasn’t used correctly. The emergency contraceptive delays or prevents ovulation and works as late as five days after unprotected intercourse. Remember! the sooner you take it the more effective it is: so act quickly!

Emergency contraception is used before a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall and cannot induce an abortion. Once a pregnancy has started, EC is not effective.

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