Tips for Thought

Using Condoms Effectively to Prevent Pregnancy and HIV

One of the most critical lessons in sex education requires practicing safe sex. This step involves being mindful of the risks of sex, getting tested for STDs, and using contraception.

External condoms are the most readily available contraceptives in the market. These come in a variety of materials which include the following:

  • Latex. These types offer the best protection against HIV. Water and silicon-based lubricants work well with latex condoms. Avoid using oil-based lubricants because they will degrade the latex.
  • Polyurethane or synthetic rubber. These are the best option for people with latex allergies. However, as a word of caution, plastic condoms break more than latex, so be careful.
  • Lambskin. These types are not recommended because they have small holes that do not offer complete protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Internal condoms are different from external ones because these types are for female use. This type is inserted in the vagina or anus during sex. Many female condoms are made with nitrile, which offers an excellent barrier against HIV.

How to Use an External Condom

For the external condom, here are some handy tips to keep in mind:

  • Carefully open the package and remove the condom from the inside.
  • Place the condom on the tip of the erect penis. If uncircumcised, pull back the foreskin first.
  • Pinch the air out of the condom’s tip. While holding the tip, unroll the condom down the shaft.
  • After sex, hold the bottom of the condom and carefully pull out the penis.
  • Remove the condom and dispose of it immediately.

Note: If you feel the condom breaking anytime during sex, stop immediately, remove the broken condom, and put on a new one. Water-based lubricants help prevent condoms from tearing.

How to Use an Internal Condom

  • Open and remove the condom from the packaging.
  • Squeeze the sides of the inner ring together with your fingers before inserting it in the vagina or anus.
  • Use your finger to push the inner ring until it rests against the cervix or as far into the anus as possible.
  • Be sure the condom is not twisted. The outer ring must remain outside the vagina or anus.
  • After sex, twist the outer ring and pull the condom out. Dispose of the used condom immediately.

How Do Condoms Prevent HIV?

Condoms (preferably latex) offer a barrier that prevents bodily fluids from entering a partner during sex. This feature reduces their chances of infection and contracting HIV.

According to research in the 2018 AIDS Journal, those who reported using condoms every time reduced their risk of contracting HIV by 91%. This finding is excellent compared to those who only sometimes use condoms, which increased their chances of contracting the disease by 83%.

How Do Condoms Prevent Pregnancy?

Like preventing STDs, condoms also help prevent pregnancy by offering a barrier. Latex condoms are handy because they prevent the sperm from meeting the egg.

According to Planned Parenthood, they offer a 98% chance of preventing pregnancy if used correctly. If you want total prevention against pregnancy, consider using a condom while being on the pill.

Takeaway: Condoms are effective, convenient, and readily available contraceptives. However, people must use them correctly to make the most out of them. Before engaging in sex, have an honest discussion with your partner about contraception use. If they want sex without condoms, consider the risks you might expose yourself to. After all, your safety matters. Good luck!