Using Condoms Correctly And Consistently
Since condoms are impermeable to viruses, shouldn’t we expect them to be 100% protective against HIV? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. As with any type of prevention strategy, condoms only work if they are used correctly and consistently. Inconsistent use can greatly decrease their ability to prevent HIV transmission.
Incorrect use of condoms can also compromise their effectiveness. For example, some people may use condoms that are too small or too large, damaged or expired unroll condoms before putting them on not pinch the tip when putting them on use sharp objects to open condom packages not use enough lubrication in combination with condoms or use oil-based lubrication with latex or polyisopropene condoms or not hold the rim of the condom when pulling out. All of these can potentially increase the risk of HIV transmission by causing a condom to break, slip or leak.
Incorrect condom use can also take the form of putting on a condom late , removing the condom early or putting the condom on inside out and then flipping it over to use. If a condom is used incorrectly in these ways, then HIV transmission could occur even though the condom does not break, slip or leak.
A recent literature review of 50 studies revealed that the incorrect use of male condoms is surprisingly common. For example:
When To Use A Condom
To reduce the risk of transmission of HIV and other STIs to the greatest extent possible, condoms can and should be used for any type of sexual activity involving a penis.
The exception is for couples who have both tested negative for HIV and other STIs and are only sexually active with each other. However, the most recent test for both members of the couple should have been after the window period for any possible previous exposure.
Search Methods For Identification Of Studies
Using a comprehensive search strategy, we searched PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and EMBASE on the 9 October 2018 with no restrictions. Our search strategy was updated in February 2020. We used the terms female condom, HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases. Details of our search terms can be found in the published protocol. We also searched the reference lists of previous reviews , as well as articles included in this review for relevant studies we may have missed through the electronic search of peer-reviewed literature. We searched the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform and ClinicalTrials.gov for ongoing trials. All identified records were deduplicated using Mendeley reference management software.
Don’t Miss: When Do You Get Hiv
Also Great: One Myone Perfect Fit
If youre between size categories or otherwise have a hard time finding a condom that fits well, consider measuring yourself or your partner and ordering Ones myOne Perfect Fit, which offers 60 sizing options, far more than any other condom company out there. For an update to this guide, we recruited eight panel testers to try these custom-fit condoms. Most were pleased and said they would order them again.
This condom definitely has a higher barrier to entry than other brands: The customer must first measure the length and girth of their erect penis using a tape measure or a . They then input their measurements on the companys website, which generates a code that corresponds to one of 60 available sizes. Before committing to an order, customers can request a free sample kit that offers a condom in their measured size, plus one a size up and one a size down, in case the measurements are off. The majority of our testers found that the size they measured was the correct one, though the sample pack is a nice option for those who want to be absolutely certain that they measured correctly.
This condom was especially loved by testers who have struggled with using average-sized condoms due to being longer than average with slimmer girth, or of average or shorter length with thicker girth.
One offers subscription options for those interested in automated shipments.
How Do Condoms Help Prevent The Sexual Transmission Of Hiv
Condoms help prevent HIV transmission by reducing the risk of an exposure to HIV during sex.
Laboratory studies show that the materials used to make most condoms do not let HIV pass through them. Condoms act as a barrier to HIV infection by preventing the vagina, penis, rectum and mouth from being exposed to bodily fluids that can contain HIV.
Some condoms are made from a thin membrane of sheep intestine. These natural membrane condoms are also known as lambskin condoms. They can be used to help prevent pregnancy, but they should not be used as an HIV prevention strategy because HIV can pass through them.
Also Check: Are Hiv And Aids The Same
What To Do If A Condom Breaks
If a condom breaks during intercourse, stop immediately and remove the broken condom.
If there is any risk of an STI, people should see their doctor, as soon as possible. The doctor will do a sexual health screening and advise about how to look for signs of STIs if they appear.
If people are worried about pregnancy, there are a number of emergency contraception options available from doctors, sexual health clinics, or over the counter at a pharmacy.
People can choose between emergency contraception pills or an intrauterine device . These can help prevent pregnancy when used early after a condom breaks. The sooner a person takes emergency contraception, the more effective it is.
Both males and females condoms are available. Male condoms are typically more affordable and have more varieties. Male condoms can vary in shape, size, flavor, and color.
Both male and female condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancy and STIs when used correctly.
Both male and female condoms have some advantages and disadvantages that people should consider when deciding on birth control.
Advantages of condoms include the following:
- less costly than hormonal methods and may be available free at certain health clinics
- non-hormonal way of working
- available in places that do not have a pharmacy
- protect against STIs where most other forms of birth control do not
There are also certain disadvantages of condoms compared with other methods of contraception, such as the following:
Is The Same True For Men Who Have Sex With Men
Are male condoms also effective at reducing HIV transmission when used by gay men or other men who have sex with men? Several studies have explored this question and estimated a similar effectiveness rate of 70 to 80% for consistent condom use during anal sex. However, these studies are affected by the same three limitations as studies of heterosexual couples — incorrect use, inconsistent use and differences in behaviour. So the effectiveness rate for consistent and correct condom use during anal sex is likely higher.
Also Check: How Do You Catch Hiv
Ive Heard Condoms Cant Prevent The Spread Of Hiv Is That True
By | Aug. 4, 2010, 11:01 a.m.
Id like to know if its true that condoms are not a safe method to avoid getting HIV AIDS. I heard that the size of the virus AIDS is smaller than the spaces of a condom and therefore, its possible that people are getting infected even with the use of a condom.
No, its not true. HIV is a virus that is carried in blood, semen, and vaginal fluids. None of these substances can pass through an intact latex condom, a polyurethane male condom, or a polyurethane internal condom.
Latex and internal condoms are the most effective way for people who have vaginal and anal intercourse to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. While oral sex is not nearly as risky as unprotected intercourse is for HIV, latex barriers can further reduce the risk.
Latex condoms are also up to 98 percent effective against pregnancy when used correctly. Polyurethane male condoms are less effective against pregnancy because they are somewhat more likely to break. Polyurethane internal condoms are up to 95 percent effective against pregnancy.
Some people use animal skin condoms, but theyre not as effective as latex or polyurethane condoms in preventing viral infections like HIV.
How Condoms Prevent Hiv
Condoms prevent HIV by blocking exposure to potentially infectious bodily fluids during sex. External condoms, when used properly, keep both semen and pre-cum contained and prevent them from reaching a persons sexual partner during anal sex, vaginal intercourse, or fellatio.
Internal condoms, also known as female condoms, protect the vagina from semen and pre-cum and the penis from exposure to vaginal secretions.
Lambskin condoms may have pores that are large enough for the virus to pass through. They should only be used for pregnancy prevention by mutually monogamous couples who have both tested negative for HIV and other STIs.
You May Like: How To Know If You Get Hiv
What Types Of Condoms Are Available To Prevent Hiv Transmission
Two types of condoms are available to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV:
The external condom, also known as the male condom, is a sheath made from polyurethane, latex or polyisoprene, which 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, 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.
A Bashh Guide To Condoms
Yes – for heterosexual couples and men who have sex with men , using condoms every time you have sex reduces the transmission of HIV and other STIs.
Condoms are thought to be almost 100% effective in preventing HIV transmission if used perfectly all of the time. In real life most people do not use condoms perfectly, or for every type of sex, so protection may be less than this. Condoms also reduce the risk of catching or passing on chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, warts and syphilis.
Whilst they do help, no method is perfect, so using a condom cannot guarantee that you will not catch an STI.
- Use a condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex to minimise the risk of transmission of HIV and other STIs.
- Consider using condoms for oral sex, especially if you have lots of sexual partners.
- Even if you don’t use a condom every time, or for every type of sex, use one as often as possible – this is safer than not at all.Even if you occasionally did not use a condom that does not mean it is not worth using a condom every time in future.
Which condoms should I use?
Does size matter?
Yes, with condoms size matters!
- Make sure you or your partner use a condom of the right size.
- Condoms are more likely to split if too tight.
- The girth of the penis may be more important than penis length.
- Try a range of condom sizes to find what fits you best, or measure round your erect penis using a strip of paper to find the correct diameter of condom for you.
How to use condoms
Don’t Miss: What Can Happen If Hiv Is Not Treated
Condom Effectiveness For Men Who Say They Sometimes Use Condoms
This is where the bad news comes in. Among the thousands of men in the two studies, only 16.4% reported always using condoms with all sexual partners over the year or more the study lasted. Thats actually pretty typical. Many times, people will decide to use or not to use condoms based on a variety of outside influences. For instance, some people decide to stop using condoms with longer-term partners. Or, there are times when people just forget, dont have access to condoms, or dont think about it if theyre drunk or high.
In this study, inconsistent condom use with HIV-positive partners offered minimal or no protection from HIV. People in the study having receptive and insertive anal sex who reported sometimes using condoms had an estimated condom effectiveness rate of 8%. Thats really low.
The Effectiveness Of Contraception
Its worth noting that no form of contraception is 100% effective, as there will always be a risk of pregnancy due to accidents. That said, the most effective birth control is not simply one form its best to combine multiple forms, such as a hormonal method and a condom. Condoms are about 99% effective, and are the best method to prevent to spread of HIV/AIDS and other STDs.
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Hiv From Swallowing
Implications For Hiv Prevention Messaging
Although there is excitement surrounding new HIV prevention strategies, safer sex messaging and prevention counselling need to emphasize that the correct and consistent use of condoms remains the most effective method of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV .
When answering questions about the effectiveness of condoms, it’s important to emphasize that they have several advantages over other options. Key messages include the following:
Despite the advantages of condoms, we can’t ignore the important role that other prevention strategies may play in helping someone reduce their risk of HIV transmission. Condoms are not without their disadvantages and these can make it difficult for people to use them consistently and correctly. For example, condom use can be difficult to negotiate, condoms can decrease sexual pleasure and intimacy, they need to be available at the time of intercourse, they may be difficult to use when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and they do not allow a woman to conceive. For these reasons, some people may choose to reduce their risk of HIV transmission in other ways.
Recommendations For Service Providers
Internal condoms and external condoms are an essential component of HIV prevention efforts and continue to have an important role to play in the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections . People working with communities at risk for or living with HIV have an important role to play in promoting this approach as a highly effective prevention strategy.
Below are recommendations on how you might improve the uptake and use of condoms among your clients.
1. Improve awareness of condoms as a highly effective HIV prevention strategy, including the factors important for maximizing their effectiveness. Any educational and counselling activities provided for HIV-negative and HIV-positive clients should include information on the HIV and STI prevention benefits of condoms and on how to use them consistently and correctly.
Education and counselling activities should also include discussion of other prevention strategies such as, but not limited to, pre-exposure prophylaxis and the use of antiretroviral treatment to maintain an undetectable viral load. Encourage clients to choose the combination of strategies that will work most effectively for them.
Internal condoms can be promoted to your clients as an effective alternative to external condoms for both vaginal and anal sex.
It is important to remind clients of the correct use of condoms so they can prevent breakage, slippage and leakage during sex, and maximize condom effectiveness. The correct use of condoms means:
Read Also: Is Hiv Transmittable If Undetectable
Can Condoms Provide Protection From Sexually Transmitted Diseases Including Hiv
Yes. Whether you use latex male condoms or female condoms, they are both very effective in preventing HIV and many other STDs when used the right way every time. Condoms may prevent the spread of other STDs, like the Human Papillomavirus or genital herpes, only when the condom covers the infected areas or sores. To find out if you might have an STD, visit your doctor or clinic as soon as you can.
But What About If Im Only A Top Or Only A Bottom
The researchers considered this in their analyses, because topping as an HIV-negative man is generally less risky than bottoming.
Here are the comparisons:
Condom effectiveness if youre bottoming
- Always use a condom: 72% effective
- Sometimes use a condom: 8% effective
Condom effectiveness if youre topping
- Always use a condom 63% effective
- Not more effective than never using a condom
The difference in condom effectiveness for topping and bottoming was not statistically significant.
Read Also: How Is Hiv Aids Transmitted
Do Condoms Protect Against Hiv When Used By Gay Couples
Two recent analyses are worth highlighting. In 2015, Dr Dawn Smith and three other researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at anal sex between men by analysing the results of two studies conducted in the USA: VAX 004 and EXPLORE . Both studies, conducted before the introduction of PrEP, recruited HIV-negative men who reported having sex with at least one HIV-positive partner.
Analysis found that among those who reported consistently using condoms , condoms prevented 70% of HIV infections.
However, for those who reported only sometimes using condoms, the studies showed that there was minimal or no protection from HIV, with just 8% of HIV infections prevented. Consistent use is challenging for many people: only 16% of men across the two studies reported always using condoms with all sexual partners over the year or more they provided data.
While condomless sex with an HIV-positive top is more risky than condomless sex with an HIV-positive bottom , in this study infection rates were not statistically different between receptive and insertive partners.
How well something works . See also effectiveness.
Johnson found that the headline 70% figure outlined in Smiths 2015 study may be in fact be an underestimate. He estimated that, if consistently used, condoms prevent 92% of HIV infections in anal sex between men.