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Male Condoms ?

What is a male condom?

Nine colored condoms in wrappers on a table

A male condom is a thin layer of latex, polyurethane, polyisoprene, or natural membrane worn over the penis during sex.

What we know about male condoms:

Condoms are very effective at reducing risk for getting or transmitting HIV if you use them the right way every time you have sex. Latex condoms provide the best protection against HIV. Polyurethane (plastic) or polyisoprene (synthetic rubber) condoms are good options for people with latex allergies, but plastic ones break more often than latex ones. Natural membrane (such as lambskin) condoms have small holes in them, so they don't block HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). +

Male condoms are 80% effective for preventing HIV for people who report using them every time they have vaginal sex, or about 70% effective for people who report using them every time they have anal sex. This means having vaginal or anal sex with a condom with a partner who has HIV is about 3 to 5 times less risky than sex without using a condom.

Condoms can also help prevent other STDs you can get through body fluids, like gonorrhea and chlamydia. However, they provide less protection against STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact, like human papillomavirus or HPV (genital warts), genital herpes, and syphilis.

What you can do

An unwrapped condom ready to be put on

Use a condom the right way every time you have sex:

  • Use a new condom every time you have sex (vaginal, anal, and oral), and keep it on the entire time you're having sex.
  • Before any genital contact, put the condom on the tip of the hard penis with the rolled side out.
  • Pinch the tip of the condom enough to leave a half-inch space for semen (cum) to collect. While holding the tip, unroll the condom all the way to the base of the hard penis.
  • After ejaculation and before the penis gets soft, hold the bottom of the condom so it stays on and carefully pull out the penis. Then gently pull the condom off the penis, making sure that semen doesn't spill out.
  • Wrap the condom in a tissue and throw it in the trash where others won't handle it.
  • If you feel the condom break at any time during sex, stop immediately, pull out the penis, take off the broken condom, and put on a new condom.
  • Use enough lubricant (lube) during vaginal and anal sex to help keep the condom from tearing. Don't use oil-based lubricants (for example, Vaseline, shortening, mineral oil, massage oils, body lotions, and cooking oil) because they can weaken the condom and cause it to break.

Natural membrane condoms aren't recommended for HIV or STD prevention. If you or your partner has a latex allergy, you can use male condoms made out of polyurethane or polyisoprene. Use water- or silicon-based lubricants to lower the chances that the condom will break or slip during sex. +

Water-based and silicone-based lubricants are safe to use with all condoms. Oil-based lubricants and products containing oil such as hand lotion, Vaseline, or Crisco shouldn't be used with latex condoms because they can weaken the condom and cause it to break. With condoms made of polyurethane or polyisoprene, it's safe to use lubricants that contain oil.

Lubricants containing nonoxynol-9 should not be used. Nonoxynol-9 is added to some lubricants and is effective for preventing pregnancy, but it irritates the lining of the vagina and anus and increases the risk of getting HIV.

Be aware that even if you use condoms the right way every time you have sex, there's still a chance of getting HIV, so adding other prevention methods, like medicines to prevent or treat HIV, can further reduce your risk.