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Use Condoms the Right Way

Patient Education Materials

Use Condoms the Right Way

To protect against STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), use condoms the right way. Except for not having sex (abstinence), latex condoms give the best protection from many STDs including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Condoms are helpful only if used the right way. Use a latex condom every time you have sex. Always put the condom on before the penis touches or enters the vagina. If you or your partner has an allergy to latex, you should use a plastic (polyurethane) condom.

Important steps for using condoms the right way:

  • Check the expiration date.
  • Check the condition of the package.
  • Open the package carefully.
  • Hold the condom by the last 1/2 inch at the tip, and squeeze out the air.
  • If the penis is uncircumcised, pull back the foreskin.
  • Place the condom on the tip of the penis.
  • Unroll the condom to the base of the penis. Smooth out any extra air.
  • If you want or need to use lubricant on the condom, only use water-based lubricants like K-Y Jelly or Surgilube. Do not use oil-based lubricants. They can weaken condoms and cause them to break. Do not use petroleum jelly, cooking or vegetable oil, mineral or baby oil, massage oil, butter, margarine, oil-based creams, or lotions.
  • Immediately after ejaculation, hold the condom firmly by the rim at the base of the penis, and pull the penis and condom out of the vagina together, while the penis is still erect.
  • Look carefully at the condom to see if there is a hole in it. If you are not sure, fill the condom with water to see if it leaks.
  • Discard the condom. Wrap it in tissue, and throw it away. Do not flush it down the toilet.
  • Never re-use a condom.

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