Are condoms 100% effective in preventing STDs?

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Are condoms 100% effective in preventing STDs?

It is commonly believed that if a man wears a condom that will prevent all sexually transmitted diseases or STDs.  This is not true.  Even though condoms are not 100% safe, if used properly they will reduce the risk of getting an STD helping to reduce the spread of STDs.  These infections include HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and syphilis. STDs can be spread through having sex – vaginal, anal, or oral.

Condoms are used for both birth control and reducing the risk of STD infections. That’s why some people think that other forms of birth control – such as IUD, diaphragm, cervical cap or pill – will protect them against diseases too. But that’s not true. If you use any other form of birth control, you still need a condom in addition to reducing the risk of getting a 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