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Do condoms always prevent HIV transmission?

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Posted on 10/7/2013, 4:12 am

Used correctly, condoms are the best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV during sex (including anal and oral) and have a very low failure rate.

Condoms are classed as medical devices and therefore come under strict standards, must meet essential requirements and go through quality tests.

Always check the expiry date of the condom and choose condoms that carry the European CE mark, a recognised safety standard. Do not use novelty condoms - they're not safe.

Condoms are most effective when used properly and this includes using the right-sized condom. Condoms come in different widths and lengths because different manufacturers make different sizes so it may require some investigation to find the right condom. For more information on how to use a condom the right way, see Further information. Here are some basic things you can do to make sure you’re using a condom properly:

Use a new condom each time you have sex.
Put on the condom as soon as erection occurs and before any sexual contact (vaginal, anal or oral).
Avoid using an oil-based lubricant, such as Vaseline or baby oil. This can weaken the condom and increase the chances of it splitting. Water-based lubricants are best and can be bought at most supermarkets or pharmacists.
The man should withdraw from the partner immediately after ejaculation, holding the condom firmly to keep it from slipping off.

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