Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
What are the recommendations for safe sex?
The following safe sex recommendations concerning condoms and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are based on current scientific information. That information is concerned with how different STDs are transmitted, the physical properties of condoms, the anatomic coverage or protection that condoms provide, and epidemiologic studies of condom use and STD risk. By condoms here are meant latex or vinyl male condoms, though female condoms are also available. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are now known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Condoms protect from sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
In addition to preventing pregnancy, latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in keeping you safe from HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including discharge and genital ulcer diseases. While the effect of condoms in preventing human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is unknown, condom use has been associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer, an HPV-associated disease.
There are two primary ways that STDs can be transmitted. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), as well as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis - the discharge diseases - are transmitted when infected semen or vaginal fluids contact mucosal surfaces (for example, the male urethra, the vagina or cervix). Bodily fluids must be exchanged through oral, anal, or vaginal sex. In contrast, genital ulcer diseases - genital herpes, syphilis, and chancroid - and human papillomavirus are primarily transmitted through contact with infected skin or mucosal surfaces.
Last Reviewed 9/11/2017
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