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Non-Latex Condoms vs STD protection
Aug 29, 2005

I'm pretty convinced that I have a condom (latex) allergy. It started slowly, becoming worse with each exposure. The last time genital area swelled almost instantly, turned very red and it was very painful to even sit down. I am aware of condoms made from polyurethane and other materials, however, none I have found protect against STD's or HIV. what are my options?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

For those with latex allergy, polyurethane condoms are unquestionably the best option. There have been at least six epidemiologic studies since the FDA approved polyurethane condoms in 1995 that address the question of their safety compared to latex condoms. Three of the six studies found equivalent extremely low rates of breakage and slippage between the two condom types; one study found polyurethane condoms to have a higher breakage but equivalent slippage rate compared to latex condoms; one study found higher breakage and slippage with polyurethane; and one study that addressed only breakage found higher rates with polyurethane condoms. Taken together, these studies show the breakage and slippage rates of polyurethane condoms are not unacceptably high and that using them is considered an effective safer-sex practice for those people unable or unwilling to use latex. I should also point out there are many anecdotal reports of increased tactile sensitivity with polyurethane compared to latex condoms. So that could be considered a bonus!

From an HIV-prevention standpoint, the only condoms considered unsafe are natural-skin (lambskin) condoms.

Dr. Bob



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