Latex Condoms Are
Highly Effective in
Preventing the
Transmission of HIV and
Other Sexually
Transmitted Diseases


Latex condoms can greatly reduce a person's risk of acquiring or transmitting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV infection. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

But for condoms to provide maximum protection, they must be used consistently and correctly.

Consistent use means using a condom from start to finish every time you have sex.

Here's all you need to do

Correct use means to:

  1. Use a new latex condom for each act of intercourse -- whether vaginal, anal, or oral.
  2. Be careful when opening the condom. Do not use your teeth, fingernails, or other sharp objects to open the condom wrapper because you might tear the condom inside.
  3. Put the condom on after the penis is erect and before any sexual contact.
  4. Hold the tip of the condom and unroll the condom all the way down the erect penis--the rolled rim should be on the outside. Leave space at the tip of the condom for semen, but make sure that no air is trapped in the condom's tip.
  5. If additional lubrication is needed, lubricate the outside of the condom if it is not pre-lubricated. Use only water-based lubricants. You can purchase a lubricant at any pharmacy. Your pharmacist can tell you which lubricants are water-based.

    Oil-based lubricants, such as petroleum jelly, cold cream, hand lotion, cooking oil, or baby oil, weaken the condom.

  6. Withdraw from your partner while the penis is still erect. Hold the condom firmly to keep it from slipping off.
  7. Throw the used condom away in the trash. Never re-use a condom.
  8. If the condom breaks during sex, withdraw from your partner and put on a new condom.

Always keep condoms handy, but store them in a cool, dry place that is out of direct sunlight. Do not use a condom after its expirations date or if it has been damaged in any way.

Latex condoms are available in different sizes, colors, and textures. Find the one that is right for you.

Novelty products are not effective in preventing STDs.

Not having sex is the best way to avoid getting HIV infection or other STDs. However, if you do have sex, remember, condoms are highly effective, if used correctly from start to finish each time you have intercourse.

For more information on condoms or preventing HIV infection, contact:

VITAE worldwide AIDS prevention effort


Information provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services