In a series of previous articles, we have already approached the topic of HIV. We have explained what HIV is, what it is not, the different ways it can be dedicated by a person before seeking medical advice and how to prevent people from contracted the disease.
As a refresher, HIV stands for “human immunodeficiency virus.” It is a virus attacking individuals‘ immune system, especially the CD4 cells. These CD4 cells provide you the protection from many different illnesses.
HIV is considered fatal because unlike many other viruses, it cannot be eliminated by our immune system. Up to now, a cure or even a vaccination for HIV still hasn’t been developed.
This article is solely to inform on one of the methods to use in order to protect yourself from contracting the disease. If you have done so yet, you should read the article on how the virus can be transmitted to learn more about the different type of protection.
Different types of condoms
There are 2 types of condoms that you can use to help in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs):
1. External condom – the most common type and usually widely available.
You can buy them at any drugstore, supermarket, and even convenience stores or pharmacies.
Also referred to as the “male condom,” this is a sheath made from polyisoprene, latex, or polyurethane placed over the penis during sex that will prevent the semen from getting into the woman’s vagina.
There is usually a very large selection of products in this area. This type of protection avoids any fluid contact from the two partners, therefore, avoids infections as well.
2. Internal condom – less common but as efficient.
It can either be made from nitrile, a synthetic latex material, or polyurethane. It is also called “female condom” or “insertive condom.”
Instead of being placed over the penis, an internal condom goes inside the woman’s vagina. It looks like a pouch with one end closed, and one end open. Then, both ends have a flexible ring.
The ring at the end that is closed is used for inserting the internal condom into the vagina and keeping it in position.
On the other hand, the ring at the end that is open stays outside the vagina and is used for covering all the outer parts of the woman’s genitals.
There are only 2 kinds of internal condoms, based on the material used.
The one made of nitrile is called “FC2” and is the more affordable type. The one made of polyurethane is called “FC1” and is more expensive.
How to use condoms correctly
Condoms, whether external or internal, have to be used correctly for maximum efficacy. If they are not used correctly, you will be at risk of getting infected with HIV or other STDs.
Incorrect use of condoms may include the following:
- Not holding the rim of the external condom when pulling it out of the vagina after ejaculation
- Using an oil-based lubricant for condoms made of polyisoprene or latex (oil-based lubricants can only be used safely on polyurethane and nitrile condoms)
- Not using a sufficient amount of lubricant
- The use of scissors or other sharp materials when opening condom packages which can cause punctures
- Not pinching the tip of the external condom when placing it over the penis
- Using condoms that have already been used in the past
- Unrolling external condoms prior to putting them on
- Using condoms that have been damaged
- Using condoms that have already expired
- Using condoms that are too big or too small for you
- Putting on the condom inside out
- The early removal of the condom even before you have ejaculated
- The late placement of the condom (putting it on after sexual intercourse has already begun)
- Accidentally pushing the outer ring of the internal condom into the vagina either completely or partially
- The erect penis accidentally missing the outer ring and entering the space between the condom and the wall of the vagina
All of the abovementioned errors can increase your risk of HIV transmission.
Pros and cons of condoms
Using condoms for the prevention of HIV has many advantages, including the following:
- Condoms are extremely affordable and easily accessible. You may find them at almost any drugstore, pharmacy, convenience store, or supermarket.
- Condoms help prevent unplanned pregnancies.
- Condoms are less toxic than other options involving anti-retroviral medications, such as PrEP and PEP.
- When used correctly, condoms are highly effective in protecting you from getting infected with HIV because exposure isn’t possible.
Just take note that even when you use it correctly, a condom may still accidentally leak, slip, or break. This can result in direct exposure to the virus and should be taken care of right away.
Having said that, condoms are not 100% foolproof in protecting against the transmission of HIV and other STDs.
Despite the benefits of condoms, they also have certain disadvantages such as:
- Allergies to latex. In such instances, latex condoms cannot be used. Then again, there are other types of condoms that are made of non-latex materials.
- Many people find that wearing condoms lower sexual gratification, intimacy, and pleasure.
- When condoms accidentally leak, slip, or break, it can cause a temporary pause in the sexual intercourse to fix it. This may result in loss of sexual desire or pleasure.
- Condoms need to already be on hand during sexual intercourse. If you are not keeping spare condoms on standby, it may be difficult to get one for sudden, unplanned sex.
If you want to reduce your risk of exposure to HIV, the regular use of condoms is extremely important. Talk to your doctor or sexual health adviser if you have any questions about the use of condoms or HIV.
This article is complementary to other previous articles that treat HIV and AIDS. To learn more just read the linked articles and let us know if that helped.