Condoms are the only method that protect against both pregnancy and STDs (including HIV).
According to the CDC, when used consistently and correctly, latex condoms are "highly effective" in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV and many other STDs.
Condoms are also 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly, every time. Condoms have expiration dates, so be sure to check the label of the condom before using for maximum effectiveness. If the condom is ripped or looks dry, brittle, stiff, or sticky, it should NOT be used. Don't store condoms in a location that can get very hot, like in your car. If you keep a condom in your wallet or purse, replace it with a new one regularly.
Condoms come in lots of colors, textures, lengths, widths, and thicknesses. The most important thing when choosing a brand is that the condoms be made of latex or polyurethane (plastic). Both of these are highly effective in preventing STDs, HIV and pregnancy. Avoid using animal skin (or "natural") condoms, which prevent pregnancy but aren't as effective in preventing all STDs, including HIV. Also, while male condoms are more popular, female condoms, which are inserted into the vagina, are also an option when male condoms can't be used.
Using a pre-lubricated condom, or applying a small amount of water-based lubricant inside and outside the condom can help prevent rips. Oil-based lubricants (for example petroleum jellies, body lotions, mineral or vegetable oils) should not be used with latex condoms because they can cause the latex to break down, reducing or eliminating the condom's effectiveness.
If you feel the condom break at any point during sexual activity:
1. Stop immediately
2. Pull out
3. Remove the broken condom
4. Put on a new condom
Condoms can break, slip, or leak if they're not put on and taken off properly. If the condom breaks, emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy.
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