Safer sex, for HIV, is any sexual activity that doesn’t allow infected semen, vaginal fluid or blood to pass from one person into the bloodstream of another person.
Sex without condoms, for example, can allow infected semen to enter the bloodstream of the receptive partner (“bottom” partner) through the lining of the anus, or vagina for sex with women. Condoms are the most effective way to prevent HIV transmission. Condoms also offer some protection against a range of other STIs. They do this by preventing transfer of infected fluids or by covering infected sites. However, because STIs are transmitted in a variety of ways the protection condoms give is not complete.
Effective Condom Use
When used properly condoms stop the transmission of HIV and reduce the transmission of other STIs.
Condom Use Guidelines:
Condoms come in different shapes and sizes (eg tighter fitting, regular, larger fitting, flared) - choose the best for you;
- Check the use by date
- Take care not to tear the condom when opening the packet;
- Squeeze the air out of the tip and roll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis
- Use lots of lube;
- Check from time to time that the condom is still intact and apply more lube;
- When pulling out, hold the condom by the base so it doesn’t slip off;
- Only use condoms once
- Throw them in the bin not down the toilet.
Where Can I Get Condoms ?
Condoms are available for free in OUThouse Community Resource centre, 105 Capel Steet, Dublin 1.
Always use a water or silicone based lube. Oil based lubes (eg hand cream, Vaseline) weaken condoms and can cause them to break. Using no lube or using saliva puts extra strain on the condom making it more likely to break.
Using plenty of lube is one way to prevent condom breakage – the more the better. You may need to re-apply lube several times when having sexual intercourse.
Avoid putting lube on your penis before putting the condom on as it’s more likely to slip off.