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How to Use Condoms Correctly

Latex Barriers -- for Men and Women -- Prevent Transmission of HIV Virtually 100% of the Time

October 2008

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Correct Use of Condoms Worn by Men

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1. Always use a new latex or polyurethane condom for each act of vaginal or anal intercourse. (Condoms are also recommended for oral sex with a partner who is known to be HIV-positive or whose HIV status you do not know.) Open the package carefully, so that you do not tear the condom.

2. Before any form of direct sexual contact with your partner, place the condom over the head of your erect penis, leaving about a half-inch of space at the end (Figure 1). Note: If you are uncircumcised, pull back the foreskin before you place the condom over the head of your penis.

3. The condom should fit over the head of the penis like a small rubber cap, with the rolled "brim" outside the "cap" -- so that it will unroll easily down the shaft of the penis. Gently squeeze the tip of the condom to remove any trapped air.

4. Hold the tip of the condom and unroll it all the way down to the base of your penis (Figure 2). A lubricant, applied to the outside of the condom, will make insertion easier. Use only a water-based lubricant. A water-based lubricant can be used at this point. However it is NOT recommended to use the lubricant and spermicide nonoxynol-9, which was not only found to be ineffective in preventing sexually transmitted diseases, but can in some circumstances actually increase the risk of HIV.

5. If you feel the condom break -- or think it may be broken -- withdraw immediately. Throw the condom away and use a new condom.

6. After you ejaculate, hold the condom to the base of your penis while you withdraw -- to keep it from coming off while it is still in your partner's vagina, anus, or mouth. Gently peel the used condom off the tip of your penis (Figure 3) and throw it away. Never use a condom more than once.

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This article was provided by San Francisco General Hospital. It is a part of the publication HIV Newsline.
See Also
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