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How good are condoms at preventing STIs?

Condoms and dental dams are barrier methods that are used to help reduce the risk of STIs and pregnancy.

External condoms are 85-98% effective depending on whether they are used correctly.

Here are some important tips for using an external condom correctly:

  1. Talk to your partner about safe sex

  2. Store condoms away from heat and cold

  3. Never use a condom that has expired

  4. Check for a “pillow” of air to be sure it hasn’t been damaged

  5. Open carefully – don’t rip it!

  6. Put a condom on before any sexual contact and when the penis is erect

  7. Pinch the tip of the condom as you unroll it onto the penis: be sure to leave space at the tip and make sure no air is trapped in the condom.

  8. Use  water-based lubrication if necessary (NOT oil-based) to reduce friction and tearing.

  9. Never wear more than one condom at once. This makes them more likely to break.

  10. Withdraw the penis after ejaculation to be sure it doesn’t slip off

  11. Use a new condom every time for oral, anal, and vaginal sex.

Internal condoms are a type of condom that is inserted into the vagina or anus to help reduce the risk of pregnancy and/or STIs. Internal condoms are 78-98% effective, depending on whether they are used correctly.

A dental dam is a square piece of latex that can be used during oral sex on the anus or the vagina.  Dental dams do not reduce the risk of pregnancy.

You can buy all barrier methods over the counter at various stores, or you can walk into Teen Clinic and get them for free!

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