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Prevention

(continued)

Male condom use

Using condoms reduces the risk of becoming infected with most STIs, especially if the condoms are used correctly and consistently. Condoms must be put on before beginning any sexual contact or activity. Use condoms with a new partner until you are certain he or she does not have an STI.

  • Use a water-based lubricant such as K-Y Jelly to help prevent tearing of the skin if there is a lack of lubrication with condom use during sexual intercourse. Small tears in the vagina during vaginal sex or in the rectum during anal sex allow STIs to get into your blood.
  • Do not use petroleum jelly as a lubricant with condoms, because it dissolves the latex in condoms.
  • Use a male condom for vaginal or anal sex.

Female condom use

Even if you are using another birth control method to prevent pregnancy, you may wish to use condoms to reduce your risk of getting an STI. Female condoms are available for women whose partners do not have or will not use a male condom.

Condoms do not prevent skin-to-sore contact in the genital area, so it is possible to spread an STI with genital contact. It is important to have any symptoms in the genital area evaluated.

Mouth barriers, such as a dental dam, can be used to reduce the spread of infection through oral sexual activity. You can discuss this with your dentist or health professional.

Avoid douching if you are a woman, because it can change the normal balance of organisms in the vagina and increases the risk of getting an STI.

Spermicide use

Most spermicides contain a chemical called nonoxynol-9 (N9). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that N9 in vaginal contraceptives and spermicides may irritate the lining of the vagina or rectum. This may increase the risk of getting HIV from an infected partner.

So although using a spermicide with a condom is more effective for birth control, using a spermicide may increase your risk for getting HIV.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 16, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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