Does wearing a condom prevent all STDs?

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There is a common belief that wearing a condom will prevent all sexually transmitted diseases or STDs.  This is not true.  Condoms are not 100% safe, but if used properly they will reduce the risk of getting an STD. 

The thing to know about condom usage and STDs is that when used consistently and correctly, condoms are highly effective in preventing STDs. Condoms can have an effectiveness rate of up to 95% in disease protection but only with correct use.  If used incorrectly, this drops to about 75% effective. 

Conditions in which condoms provide less protection against are STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact such as human papillomavirus (genital warts), genital herpes, and syphilis. 

The reason why condoms can be very effective in stopping the spread of STDs is that they act as a barrier or wall to keep blood, or semen, or vaginal fluids from passing from one person to the other during intercourse.  It is within these fluids that germs can be found such as HIV and other STDs.  If no condom is used, then the germs can pass from the infected partner to the uninfected partner. 

How to get the most protection when using a condom

·      Read the label on the packaging the condom came in before using it.  Check the expiration date to make sure it has not expired.

·      Always open the package carefully.  Any condom that is accidentally torn should not be used and should be thrown away.

·      Choose the right kind of condoms to prevent disease – look for two things:

·      The condoms should be made of latex or else with polyurethane for people sensitive or allergic to latex.  Tests have shown that latex and polyurethane condoms can prevent the passage of HIV, and hepatitis and herpes viruses. 

·      The package should state that the condoms are to prevent disease.  If it doesn’t say anything about preventing disease, then do not use them.  Natural lambskin condoms are not approved for the prevention of STDs as bacteria can still spread through this type of condom.

·      Store them in a cool, dry place.  Storing condoms near heat (your back pocket or glove compartment) can make them weaker and less effective.

·      Always use a new condom every time you have sex