How do condoms protect against HIV/STDs and Pregnancy?

Condom is very effective and reducing the risk of being infected with HIV during sexual intercourse. Using a condom also provides protection against other sexually transmitted diseases and protection against pregnancy.

The evidence for this is clearest in studies of couples in which one person is infected with HIV and other not i.e “discordant couples.” In a study of discordant couples in Europe among 123 couples who reported consistent condom use, none of the uninfected partners became infected. In contrast, among the 122 couples who used condoms inconsistently, 12 of the uninfected partners became infected.

In the laboratory, latex condoms are very effective at blocking transmission of HIV because pores inlatex condoms are too small to allow the virus to pass through. However outside of the laboratory condoms are less effective because people do not always use condoms properly.

What are condoms made off?

Condoms are made of latex (rubber) or polyurethane. Latex condoms are most effective against HIV and are commonly used. Lubrication on condoms also varies. Some condoms are not lubricated at all, some are lubricated with a silicone substance and some condoms have a water-based lubricant. The lubrication on condoms aims to make the condoms easier to put on and more comfortable use.

Tips for Condom Usage

  • Never re-use condoms, always use a new one
  • Check the pack expiry date
  • Keep a supply handy, where they cannot be damaged by heat, light or damp
  • Take the condom out of its pack carefully
  • Make sure the foil, fingernails or jewelry, do not damage the rubber
  • Make sure you squeeze any air out of the ‘teat’ at the top of the condom before putting it on
  • Only use water based lubricants

Dispose condoms carefully by wrapping them in a tissue and putting them in a bin.