Five Little-Known Tips For Using Condoms Properly

Rates of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis have risen 45% in the past five years.  Experts at the CDC attribute this to several causes -- including dating apps like Tinder and Grindr that make sex more readily available, and the arrival of PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), which protects against HIV but no other sexually-transmitted infections.  The increase in STDs is also due to the misuse of condoms. Here are five little-known tips for how to use condoms properly in order to protect yourself and your partner from contracting a sexually-transmitted infection.

  1. Check the label.

           Before you use a condom, check the label to make sure it says that it protects against sexually-transmitted infections.  Why? Because some manufacturers make novelty condoms intended for stimulation that aren’t up to FDA standards for preventing STDs.  Condoms that protect against STDs should be made out of latex or polyurethane, and should state on the label that they’re intended for disease prevention.

  1. Store them properly.

           Condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place that’s out of direct sunlight.  If condoms are exposed to intense light or heat -- whether it’s on your bathroom windowsill or in your glove box or in the wallet you keep in your back pocket  -- the protective material breaks down and becomes less effective.

  1. Check the expiration date.

           Yes, like gallons of milk and prescription medications, condoms do expire.  So check the expiration date before you trust a condom to protect you from a sexually-transmitted infection.

  1. Use a water-based lubricant.

           Using a lubricant makes a condom less likely to break during vaginal and anal intercourse.  It also decreases irritation, which lowers the risk of an infection. But it’s important to use the right kind of lube!  You should always use a water-based lubricant with condoms, since petroleum-based lubricants weaken condoms and make them more likely to break down.

  1. Carefully open the wrapper.

          Opening a condom wrapper with your teeth or fingernails or scissors can damage the condom material.  Open the condom gently, according to package guidelines, so your condom is intact when you’re ready to use it.

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At Golden Gate Urgent Care we work hard to help our patients be as happy and healthy as possible!  We test and treat STDs seven days a week. If you need us, schedule an appointment online or simply walk in to any of our six locations to get the care you need.

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