Condoms

Consistent and correct use of the male latex condom reduces the risk of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission. However, condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STD. The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. However, many infected persons may be unaware of their infection because STDs often are asymptomatic and unrecognized.

Condoms

Condom effectiveness for STD and HIV prevention has been demonstrated by both laboratory and epidemiologic studies. Evidence of condom effectiveness is also based on theoretical and empirical data regarding the transmission of different STDs, the physical properties of condoms, and the anatomic coverage or protection provided by condoms.

Female Condom

FC2 Female Condom® is a thin, soft, loose-fitting sheath made from synthetic rubber (non-latex) which is worn inside the vagina. There is a flexible ring at each end. The inner ring at the closed end of the sheath is used to insert the condom inside the vagina and to hold it in place during intercourse. The rolled outer ring at the open end of the sheath remains outside the vagina and covers part of the external genitalia. FC2 Female Condom® is inserted into the vagina before sex. It holds the man’s sperm after ejaculation thus helping prevent unintended pregnancy. It also acts as a barrier to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.

Condom FAQ

  • Condom Fact Sheet

    Laboratory studies have shown that latex condoms provide an effective barrier against even the smallest STD pathogens.

    Epidemiologic studies that compare rates of HIV infection between condom users and nonusers who have HIV-infected sex partners demonstrate that consistent condom use is highly effective in preventing transmission of HIV. Similarly, epidemiologic studies have shown that condom use reduces the risk of many other STDs. However, the exact magnitude of protection has been difficult to quantify because of numerous methodological challenges inherent in studying private behaviors that cannot be directly observed or measured.

    Theoretical and empirical basis for protection: Condoms can be expected to provide different levels of protection for various STDs, depending on differences in how the diseases or infections are transmitted. Male condoms may not cover all infected areas or areas that could become infected. Thus, they are likely to provide greater protection against STDs that are transmitted only by genital fluids (STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and HIV infection) than against infections that are transmitted primarily by skin-to-skin contact, which may or may not infect areas covered by a condom (STDs such as genital herpes, human papillomavirus [HPV] infection, syphilis, and chancroid).

  • Consistent and Correct Condom Use

    To achieve maximum protection by using condoms, they must be used consistently and correctly. The failure of condoms to protect against STD/HIV transmission usually results from inconsistent or incorrect use,
    rather than product failure.

    • Inconsistent or nonuse can lead to STD acquisition
      because transmission can occur with a single sex act with
      an infected partner.
    • Incorrect use diminishes the protective effect of condoms
      by leading to condom breakage, slippage, or leakage.
      Incorrect use more commonly entails a failure to use
      condoms throughout the entire sex act, from start (of
      sexual contact) to finish (after ejaculation).

  • How to Use a Condom Consistently and Correctly

    Use a new condom for every act of vaginal, anal and oral sex—throughout the entire sex act (from start to finish). Before any genital contact, put the condom on the tip of
    the erect penis with the rolled side out.

    If the condom does not have a reservoir tip, pinch the tip enough to leave a half-inch space for semen to collect. Holding the tip, unroll the condom all the way to the base
    of the erect penis.

    After ejaculation and before the penis gets soft, grip the rim of the condom and carefully withdraw. 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 point during sexual activity, stop immediately, withdraw, remove the broken
    condom, and put on a new condom.

    Ensure that adequate lubrication is used during vaginal and anal sex, which might require water-based lubricants. Oil-based lubricants (e.g., petroleum jelly, shortening, mineral oil, massage oils, body lotions, and cooking oil) should not be used because they can weaken latex, causing breakage.

  • What’s the best kind of condom to use?

    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 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.

    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, reduce or eliminate the condom’s effectiveness.

  • Is a lubricant important?

    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, reduce or eliminate the condom’s effectiveness.

  • How do you put a condom on correctly?

    The condom should be put on before any genital (skin-to-skin) contact. Some STDs can be transmitted without intercourse, through genital contact. Also, pre-cum can contain semen and STDs (including HIV), so you need to wear a condom the whole time from beginning to end, each and every time.

    • To open the package, tear gently on the side (not with teeth or scissors, which could rip the condom itself). Pull the condom out slowly (with care) to prevent ripping.

    • The rolled condom should be placed over the head of the penis when it is hard.

    • Pinch the tip enough to leave a half-inch space for semen to collect. Holding the tip, unroll the condom all the way to the base of the penis.

    • The condom should fit snugly – but not too tight – so that it won’t slide off or break during intercourse.

    • If you start to put on a condom inside-out, don’t use it. Throw it away and use a new one. You’ll know it’s inside out because it won’t roll down the length of the penis easily.

    • If the condom rips at any time, throw that one out and use a new one.

  • What’s the best way to remove a used condom?

    The most common mistake is not using condoms from start (of sexual contact) to finish (after ejaculation). Immediately after ejaculation, hold the base of the condom (so it stays in place and semen cannot spill out), and slowly withdraw the penis – while it is still hard.

    The condom should be wrapped in tissue and thrown away in the garbage (not in the toilet as it may clog).

  • In addition to condoms, how else can I reduce the risk of HIV transmission?

    There are several ways to reduce risk of getting or passing HIV. These include:

    Condoms: Use condoms. When used consistently and correctly, condoms are highly effective in protecting against HIV, as well as many other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Female condoms are another highly-effective tool specially designed for women to prevent HIV and many other STDs. Like male condoms, female condoms are a barrier method of protection. Female condoms are inserted into the vagina. Some women like female condoms because it puts them more in control over condom use.

    PrEP: For added protection, talk with your health care provider about whether pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is an option for you. PrEP is a once-daily pill, available by prescription, for people who do not have HIV that can reduce the risk of getting HIV by more than 90 percent.

    Treatment as prevention: If you have HIV, establish a treatment plan. Not only can you improve your health with antiretroviral (ARV) treatment but you can also significantly reduce – by as much as 96 percent – the chances of passing the virus on to others.

    Clean injection equipment: Never share needles, syringes or other drug preparation equipment. You can get clean needles from pharmacies or needle-exchange programs. Only use syringes that come from a reliable source. If you need help with addiction, find drug treatment programs near you using the HIV.gov locator.

Female Condom FAQ

  • Is FC2 Latex-Free?

    Yes, FC2 Female Condom is latex-free and made of a synthetic rubber called nitrile.

  • What are the advantages of FC2 Female Condom?

    FC2 can be an exciting and sexually satisfying alternative for couples.

    • FC2 can increase a woman’s sense of empowerment as she is taking the initiative to protect herself and her partner.

    • FC2 Increases sexual stimulation because the material adjusts to body temperature and stays warm.

    • External ring rubs against clitoris and increases pleasure for many women.

    • Men do not have to have/ maintain an erection to use FC2. FC2 is a good option for men who are unable to maintain an erection with the male condom.

    • Men do not have to withdraw right after ejaculation, which may lead to more intimacy when using FC2.

    • FC2 can be inserted ahead of time so there are no interruptions to “spoil the mood”.

    • Insertion of FC2 can be incorporated into sexual play, the partner can watch as it is put in place OR can help insert it.

    • FC2 is a great choice for people with sensitivities to latex.

    • FC2 can be used with any kind of lubricant (water or oil-based lubricants).

    • FC2 provides an option for those times when a couple does not want to use the male condom (NOTE: Clients should never use a male condom and FC2 at the same time).

    • FC2 is not tight or constricting around the penis; some men prefer FC2 to the male condom.

    • The inner ring of FC2 can stimulate the tip of the penis during intercourse.

    • The man does not have to worry about wearing a condom.

    • FC2 provides effective dual protection, reducing the worry during sex about pregnancy and STIs/HIV.

    • Increased sensation compared to latex male condom because nitrile is very thin.

  • Why do we need FC2 Female Condom?

    Women and men can initiate the use of FC2, so it provides them with an additional choice to protect themselves from STIs, HIV and unintended pregnancies. It is not intended as a replacement for the male condom but rather as an additional option for both women and men.

  • Why does FC2 Female Condom seem so large?

    FC2 Female Condom® is similar in length to a male condom. However, it is wider than a male condom as, once inserted, it lines the walls of the vagina and allows for movement of the penis inside the sheath. It also provides extra protection by covering part of the external female genitalia and the base of the penis.

  • Who can use FC2?

    • People who want to protect themselves and their partners from unintended pregnancy and STIs, including HIV/AIDS.

    • People whose partners cannot or will not use the male condom.

    • Women who are menstruating.

    • Women who have recently given birth.

    • Women who have had a hysterectomy.

    • Women who are pre-menopausal or post-menopausal.

    • People who are allergic or sensitive to latex.

    • People who are HIV+ or have HIV+ partners.

  • Menstruation

    Yes. FC2 Female Condom® does not interfere with menstruation and can therefore be used. However, FC2 should be inserted just before intercourse and removed soon after.

  • Pregnancy

    Yes, you can use FC2 Female Condom® when you are pregnant since the condom doesn’t move beyond the cervix. You can also use FC2 Female Condom® after recently giving birth.

  • Hysterectomy

    Yes. FC2 lines the vagina and takes its natural shape.

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