If you are sexually active and are not ready to become a parent, it is important to use birth control to protect yourself from pregnancy.
It is also important to reduce your risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV.
Condoms are the only birth control that reduces your risk of both pregnancy and STDs, including HIV. But, in order to work, condoms must be used correctly and must be used every time you have sex. It’s important to know, however, that they cannot completely protect you and your partner from some STDs, like herpes, syphilis, or human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer. Also, condoms can break, slip, or leak, especially if they are not put on and taken off properly.
The only sure way to prevent pregnancy and STDs is NOT to have sex.
Always use a condom. Even if you or your partner is using another type of birth control, agree to use a condom every time you have sex, to reduce the risk to both of you for HIV and most other STDs.
When you are opening the package, gently tear it on the 1 side. Do not use your teeth or scissors because you might rip the condom that’s inside. Pull the condom out of the package slowly so that it doesn’t tear.
Put the rolled up condom over the head of the penis when it is hard.
Pinch the tip of the condom enough to leave a half-inch space for semen to collect.
Holding the tip of the condom, unroll it all the way down to the base of the penis.
When the condom is on, it should feel snug enough so that it won’t fall off during sex, but not too tight.
The most common mistake is not using condoms from the beginning of sexual contact to the very end, after ejaculation. Immediately after ejaculation, hold the bottom of the condom so it stays on and semen cannot spill out. Then, carefully withdraw the penis while it is still hard. Once the penis is out, you can remove the condom, wrap it in tissue, and throw it in the trash. Do not flush it down the toilet because it might clog.
If you feel the condom break at any point before or during sex: Stop immediately! Withdraw. Carefully remove the broken condom and put on a new one.
If the condom breaks, pregnancy can be prevented with emergency contraception. Emergency contraception (the “Morning-After Pill”) works best when it’s started as soon as possible after sex, but can be started up to 5 days after sex.
Remember: Emergency contraception helps prevent pregnancy, but it does NOT protect against STDs.