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World AIDS Day: 10 tips for using a condom

Last updated on: December 1, 2011 18:05 IST

Photographs: Dr Swapan Ghosh,

According to recent reports the rate of prevalence of AIDS in India has come down noticeably. But with an estimated 2.2 million Indians still suffereing from AIDS, the battle is yet to be won.

Awareness about the epidemic and how to contain it by use of condoms has, in a way, played a significant role in tackling the disease.

In order to spread this awareness further on the occasion of World's AIDS Day we present 10 tips for using a condom.

Note: Our intent here is to provide good and clean content on sexual health. We want to resolve all the mis-conceptions and curiosities about this subject. If you feel uncomfortable because of any article in this section, please let us know.

Using a condom is the best way through which you can prevent pregnancy or contracting/transmitting sexually transmitted diseases. It's absolutely imperative if you have a tendency to enjoy sex with multiple sexual partners simultaneously. Condoms have been shown to be 98% effective, when used in the right way.

Here are some basic principles that need to be kept in mind while using a condom to ensure that you get the best possible protection for yourself and your partner.

1. Check the quality certificate

Always try to look for the quality certificate of the condom on the packaging before buying it. If it carries the CE mark then you can be assured of its quality.

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World AIDS Day: 10 tips for using a condom

Photographs: Rediff Archives

2. Check the expiry date

Check the expiry date mentioned for the condoms on the package as they do have a 'use by' date after which, they might not offer you the maximum possible protection.

World AIDS Day: 10 tips for using a condom

Image: Stock up for holidays
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/

3. Stock up for holidays

Most people, who travel on holiday travel to foreign shores looking for action and adventure, may face language related or cultural problems, especially in unfamiliar shores. To avoid any difficulty in buying condoms when you're on holiday, stock up on them before you leave home. This will ensure that you can enjoy your vacation responsibly.

World AIDS Day: 10 tips for using a condom

Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/

4. Use them before contact

Always ensure that you wear the condom before any physical contact between the penis and the vagina or the anus to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases or other viruses.

World AIDS Day: 10 tips for using a condom

Photographs: Bryan Brenneman of Sheridan, OR, USA

5. Use them after erection

Donning the condom after getting a full erection will give you better protection than wearing it on a flaccid penis.

World AIDS Day: 10 tips for using a condom

Photographs: Rediff Archives

6. Use a condom every time

Using a condom every single time during sex is the sign of a responsible adult. Even one encounter without a condom can result in STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and or pregnancy.

World AIDS Day: 10 tips for using a condom

7. Change condoms regularly

If you're having a long session with your partner, ensure that you change your condom for a new one every thirty minutes, as otherwise the chances of breakage will increase multifold, leaving you exposed to the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, not to mention an unwanted pregnancy.

You can also change your condom after ejaculation, if you're up for another round.

World AIDS Day: 10 tips for using a condom

8. Avoid multiple condoms

Using two condoms simultaneously increases the chance of them rubbing together and causing friction to develop, thereby leading to breakage and failure. This is true even in the case of both male condoms or one male and one female condom (Read: How to use a femal condom).

World AIDS Day: 10 tips for using a condom

9. Store and dispose well

As condoms are made from latex, they are sensitive to heat and light, so store them in a cool and dark place. If you live in a hot and humid place, it is better to store them in the refrigerator, especially in the summer months. Always wrap the used condom in its foil packaging and dispose it off by throwing it in the trash. Do not flush a used condom.

World AIDS Day: 10 tips for using a condom

10. Using a lubricant

Do not use oil based products like moisturisers, creams and body oils to lubricate the vagina or the anus while using a latex condom. These oil based products can weaken the condom, leading to easy breakage and leakage. This would defeat the entire purpose of using a condom. Instead use water based lubricants that are readily available at most chemists' shops.

If you are careful and use a condom properly every time you have sex, then you can enjoy a healthy and long sexual life with minimal risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. However, a condom does not absolve you from the responsibility of finding out about your potential partner's sexual past and the number and type of people s/he has been with to assess the risks you will be taking with your own health in case of condom breakage or failure.

Also read:

How to use the female condom

How to wear a male condom

10 tips to avoid sexually transmitted diseases

Eight tips of practising safer sex

DON'T believe these sexual health myths!

Using a condom is necessary even in the case of oral sex in order to prevent any infections getting transmitted through any possible mouth ulcers or open wounds or bleeding gums inadvertently. If there is a doubt that the condom might have failed, get tested immediately for any sexually transmitted diseases to ensure you are in the pink of health and pose no risk to others.

You can learn how to properly use a condom with practice and this will help you enjoy a happy and satisfying sexual life for years to come.