In a moment of passion accidents can happen, a condom worn incorrectly, handled roughly or past its expiration date can lead to it breaking or slipping off during sex. Don’t panic but do follow this advice.
DO'S AND DON'TS
- Discuss getting tested for STIs with your partner as soon as possible.
- You will also want to discuss emergency contraception with your healthcare provider if you weren’t protected by another form of contraception such as, for example, an IUD or the pill.
- Speak to your healthcare provider about post exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a "morning after" treatment for HIV that may prevent infection if you think you could be at risk.
- Don’t pass it on.
- Stay away from all sexual contact (vaginal, oral, or anal) with anyone until you’ve tested negative for STIs.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes. Condoms have been proven to provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In fact, condoms are the only contraceptive method that also provides STI protection. Condoms provide different levels of risk reduction for different STIs because infections are spread differently — some are spread by contact with bodily fluids while others are spread by skin to skin contact. In general, research shows that condoms are most effective in preventing those STIs that are spread by bodily fluids, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. Condoms also can reduce the risk of contracting diseases spread by skin-to-skin contact, such as herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV). However, condoms only can protect against these diseases if the sores are in areas covered by the condom.
There are a range of tests performed by both regulatory agencies and the condom manufacturers. These include electronic testing, the water leak test, the air burst test and the strength test.
Check that the use-by date has not expired, that they carry a standards approval mark (either SABS, FDA, ISO, CE or the British Standard Kite Mark), and that they have been properly stored.
As with most barrier methods, it can take a bit of practice to use this method correctly. As long as you are clear on how to use them, you should get the hang of it.
Compared to modern hormonal methods, condoms are less reliable and effective in protecting against pregnancy but they are the only method that will protect against STIs, including HIV/AIDS.
WHAT TO DO IF …