I am allergic to Latex which seems to be the only type of condom that protect.

Is this true? Are there any other alternatives? I read that lambskin does not protect.....



Another QTND (question that never dies) and ATNC (answer that never changes). See below.

Dr. Bob

My girlfriend is allergic to latex, so we can't use a condom. What other protection is there? Nov 28, 2003

Hello, I'm a teen virgin and so is my girlfriend. We decided we wanted to have sex, but I found out she was allergic to latex, so we can't use a condom. I don't know what to do. I know the pill doesn't protect against HIV, so I was just wondering if theres a non-latex condom available on the market, and if so, where can I find it.

Response from Dr. Frascino


I'm delighted you and your girlfriend are planning ahead to stay safe! For latex allergic folks, I recommend polyurethane condoms. There are several brands to choose from, and they can be found in almost all drug stores. Just read the label on the box or packet. Avanti is a common brand carried in the U.S.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob

New Question About Lambskin Condoms Not In Archives Nov 27, 2003

Dear Doctor:


First off, thank you for your warm, caring but straight-forward advice and counseling that you provide in this forum. You are helping to save lives, and improve the quality of life for many.

My question: Are there any clinical studies about lambskin condoms? I understand that there have been lab studies which demonstrate that the HIV virus is smaller than the holes in lambskin condoms, therefore the virus can pass through. However, is this a theorhetical conclusion only? Is there any practical evidence of transmission? I have read (or perhaps misread) that the virus does not exist by itself, and must attach itself to something (like a my medical non-expertise showing?); following this thought, although the virus is small enough to pass through a lambskin condom hole, the cells in which they inhabit are not small enough, and therefore the practical risk of transmission is neglible. This theory aside, I have also read (in this forum in the archives) that using a lambskin condom is better protection than not using anything. I have also read in this forum that using a lambskin condom is exactly like using no protection at all.

I know that as a prescriptive measure, the answer is clear -use a latex condom. However, like many questions in your forum, my question in part relates to past activity, not future conduct. There is a part that does relate to future conduct however. You see, the activity in question was engaged in by my wife, who had an affair over several months with one man, and a one night stand with another man. Now that most of my anger has subsided, and we both are endeavoring to heal our relationship, the question arises as to whether I continue to sleep with my wife without using a condom. If my wife has placed hereself at risk, then I would be placing myself at risk if I continue to sleep with her without the aid of a condom.

As you can imagine, I am going through a difficult situation as a result of discovery of the affair. Anger, guilt (did I cause her to have an affair?) and other emotions aside, I have two children with my wife, and I need to make responsible, informed decisions, while trying to heal my marriage. Using a condom with my wife could "insult" or "scare" her, since the only reason I would be using the condom is as a result of her past conduct. On the other hand, if I do not use a condom, I am increading my own risk of infection, and worst case scenario, my kids would end up with no parents a lot earlier than necessary.

A few additional facts: There is no indication or knowledge that either of the men my wife was with were HIV positive. The man that my wife was with the most was the one who used lambskin condoms and claims that he has been tested several times as a part of his routine blood work, that he is negative, that he is straight, and that he has been in monogamous relationships most of his life (hard for me to believe though since he was married at the time; besides, I grew up believing no one is sex, and only practiced safe sex). The other man with whom my wife was with only twice is of unknown status completely, the condom that was used was of unknown material, that he claimed he was straight, but I do know he used cocaine and claimed never to used IV drugs.

Final facts: all this happened while I was in China for several months on business, and when I got back, I had slept with my wife twice unprotected before I found out, and then had all these issues to deal with. So, I am already at potential risk.....

Final words: Please post this or in your answer please point out to women that they need to take condoms into their own control and responsibility. For some reason, I always knew to use latex with non-oxidol9 before marriage - my wife on the other hand never knew that there were condoms out there that provided no disease protection. Women need to know to inspect the condom to make sure it is latex, and not to be fooled into thinking that "f he is wearing a condom, it is safe". As an aside, my wife was very disturbed that the warning label on lambskin condons about no disease protection is in VERY SMALL PRINT - not something a women buying condoms is going to read most likely.....


Response from Dr. Frascino


The kinds of studies you are asking about "practical evidence of transmission" from using lambskin condoms of course can never be done for ethical reasons. However, I can tell you that your theory of "negligible risk" is not correct. The risk is real and far from negligible.

The solution to your problem seems rather obvious to me. Your wife had the potential risk, so ask her to be HIV tested, or be tested together.

I agree the warning label on lambskin condoms is way too small. That's why practical HIV prevention information should be taught to everyone in sex education classes before they become sexually active. But that's another problem altogether.

Your overall risk appears to be relatively low, but not completely nonexistent. It also seems like you still have some issues to work out with your wife. Resolving any remaining doubts or concerns pertaining to HIV may help heal the rift. Finally, I should note that condoms and lubricants containing Nonoxinol 9 are no longer recommended, and should, in fact, be avoided. They can cause irritation to the vaginal lining, which can increase the risk of HIV transmission.

Dr. Bob

Using condoms Sep 12, 2006

Hi Dr Bob,

I really like your forum. By the way my fiancee is positive and I'm negative. We have sex for 3 weeks using condoms and we double it. The condom did not break nor it leak. However I encountered itchiness when we try another brand of condoms and I have white discharge so I'm taking meds for it now. I'm just curious if this might be a symptoms that despite of using condoms I still get infection of HIV because the OB gyne I went to here in the Philippines told me that using condoms is not safe and STD like HIV may infect me still...Thanks a lot for your response.

Regards, Concerned woman

Response from Dr. Frascino


Your OB/GYN doctor told you what???? The facts are that latex or polyurethane condoms are very effective in reducing the risk of STDs, including HIV, if they are used properly and do not fail (break). HIV and other STDs cannot permeate intact latex or polyurethane. No way. No how.

I don't recommend using two latex condoms simultaneously, because the friction of latex on latex could actually weaken the condom and increase the risk of rupture. A single condom with water-based lubricant is all you need. If itchiness is occurring with latex condoms, it may be an allergy. Try switching to polyurethane.

I'll reprint some information about condoms from the archives below. Additional information about condoms, latex allergy, "double bagging" and condom efficacy can be found in the archives.

I'd also suggest you read through the archives that pertain to magnetic couples (one poz and one neg.).

Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



January 10, 2006

What Are Condoms?

What Are They Made Of?

How Are Condoms Used?

Using a Male Condom

Using a Female Condom


Condom Myths

The Bottom Line

What Are Condoms?

A condom is a tube made of thin, flexible material. It is closed at one end. Condoms have been used for hundreds of years to prevent pregnancy by keeping a man's semen out of a woman's vagina. Condoms also help prevent diseases that are spread by semen or by contact with infected sores in the genital area, including HIV. Most condoms go over a man's penis. A new type of condom was designed to fit into a woman's vagina. This "female" condom can also be used to protect the rectum.

What Are They Made Of?

Condoms used to be made of natural skin (including lambskin) or of rubber. That's why they are called "rubbers." Most condoms today are latex or polyurethane. Lambskin condoms can prevent pregnancy. However, they have tiny holes (pores) that are large enough for HIV to get through. Lambskin condoms do not prevent the spread of HIV. Latex is the most common material for condoms. Viruses cannot get through it. Latex is inexpensive and available in many styles. It has two drawbacks: oils make it fall apart, and some people are allergic to it.

Polyurethane is an option for people who are allergic to latex. One brand of female condom and one brand of male condom are made of polyurethane.

How Are Condoms Used?

Condoms can protect you during contact between the penis, mouth, vagina, or rectum. Condoms won't protect you from HIV or other infections unless you use them correctly.

Store condoms away from too much heat, cold, or friction. Do not keep them in a wallet or a car glove compartment.

Check the expiration date. Don't use outdated condoms.

Don't open a condom package with your teeth. Be careful that your fingernails or jewelry don't tear the condom. Body jewelry in or around your penis or vagina might also tear a condom.

Use a new condom every time you have sex, or when the penis moves from the rectum to the vagina.

Check the condom during sex, especially if it feels strange, to make sure it is still in place and unbroken.

Do not use a male condom and a female condom at the same time.

Use only water-based lubricants with latex condoms, not oil-based. The oils in Crisco, butter, baby oil, Vaseline or cold cream will make latex fall apart.

Use unlubricated condoms for oral sex (most lubricants taste awful).

Do not throw condoms into a toilet. They can clog plumbing.

Using a Male Condom:

Put the condom on when your penis is erect -- but before it touches your partner's mouth, vagina, or rectum. Many couples use a condom too late, after some initial penetration. Direct genital contact can transmit some diseases. The liquid that comes out of the penis before orgasm can contain HIV.

If you want, put some water-based lubricant inside the tip of the condom.

If you are not circumcised, push your foreskin back before you put on a condom. This lets your foreskin move without breaking the condom.

Squeeze air out of the tip of the condom to leave room for semen (cum). Unroll the rest of the condom down the penis.

Do not "double bag" (use two condoms). Friction between the condoms increases the chance of breakage.

After orgasm, hold the base of the condom and pull out before your penis gets soft.

Be careful not to spill semen onto your partner when you throw the condom away.

Using a Female Condom:

The female condom is a sleeve or pouch with a closed end and a larger open end. There are flexible rings at each end of the Reality condom, and a flexible V-shaped frame in the V-amour condom.

Put the condom in place before your partner's penis touches your vagina or rectum.

For use in the vagina, insert the narrow end of the condom, like inserting a diaphragm. The larger end goes over the opening to the vagina to protect the outside sex organs from infection.

Guide the penis into the large end to avoid unprotected contact between the penis and the partner's rectum or vagina.

Some people have used the Reality condom in the rectum after removing the smaller ring. Put the condom over your partner's erect penis. The condom will be inserted into the rectum along with the penis.

After sex, remove the condom before standing up. Twist the large end to keep the semen inside. Gently pull the condom out and throw it away.


Nonoxynol-9 is a chemical that kills sperm (a spermicide). It can help prevent pregnancy when it is used in the vagina along with condoms or other birth control methods. Nonoxynol-9 should not be used in the mouth or rectum.

Because nonoxynol-9 kills HIV in the test tube, it was considered as a way to prevent HIV infection during sex. Unfortunately, many people are allergic to it. Their sex organs (penis, vagina, and rectum) can get irritated and develop small sores that actually make it easier for HIV infection to spread. Nonoxynol-9 should not be used as a way to prevent HIV infection.

Condom Myths

Condoms don't work: Studies show condoms are 80% to 97% effective in preventing HIV transmission if they are used correctly every time you have sex.

Condoms break a lot: Less than 2% of condoms break when they are used correctly: no oils with latex condoms, no double condoms, no outdated condoms.

HIV can get through condoms: HIV cannot get through latex or polyurethane condoms. Don't use lambskin condoms.

The Bottom Line

When used correctly, condoms are the best way to prevent the spread of HIV during sexual activity. Condoms can protect the mouth, vagina or rectum from HIV-infected semen. They can protect the penis from HIV-infected vaginal fluids and blood in the mouth, vagina, or rectum. They also reduce the risk of spreading other sexually transmitted diseases.

Condoms must be stored, used and disposed of correctly. Male condoms are used on the penis. Female condoms can be used in the vagina or rectum.

For more information, see Condomania's World of Safer Sex at or the FDA's condom brochure at

Jul 6, 2006

Hey Dr. McHandsome,

I'm about to enter into the sexually active period of my life.I'm 25 and I can't wait to impress the ladies with my wit and fashion! I'm writing because I'm concerned about carrying condoms in my pocket or wallet. Should i carry them in my man-bag instead or would that be too ticky-tacky?

Thanks for your prompt repy,

Sincerely yours,


Response from Dr. Frascino


You refer to me as Dr. McHandsome; you're 25 but only now about ready to enter into the sexually active period of your life; you expect to impress ladies with your wit and fashion; you carry a man-bag and your name is Sergio-Gaylord????? Whoa! There are so many rainbow flags waving in that message that it's only one penis Popsicle away from a Gay Day parade.

Dude, first off, when someone mentions man-bag on this site, I think scrotum.

To answer your question, condoms can be comfortably carried in your pockets or attaché case or stored for handy use in your nightstand "goody drawer."

Next, you may well be as straight as a lawn dart, but the tone of your post makes me wonder if you could bottom for Liberace. Either way, of course, it's fine with me. I just want you to be safe and sexually content and never-ever ticky-tacky.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob