Condoms provide good protection against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Condoms are affordable, readily available, and easy to use. Putting on a condom requires no specialized skill and no prescriptions, or doctors visits are needed in order to get them.

With proper condom use pregnancy prevention can be achieved with a success rate of over 98%. Proper condom use can prevent sexually transmitted diseases with rates ranging from 70% for diseases such as genital warts (human papilloma virus) up to 85% for HIV.

But what is proper condom use? Proper use means that you apply the best evidence there is about how to safely store, apply, and dispose of the condom. And you do it 100% of the time in all of your sexual encounters.

Here are some tips for proper condom use:

  • Use only latex condoms, they provide the best protection and are the most resistance to breakage or tearing. Although quite hardy the latex rubber condom is not immune to damage. Temperature extremes will cause the latex in the condom to break down so your condoms should be stored safely. Keeping your condoms in your wallet will expose them to heat and over the long term the latex will deteriorate. By all means prepare yourself by packing a few condoms if you are anticipating sexual activity, but do not store a condom there just in case as the quality of the latex rubber will degrade over time.
  • Do not use expired product - Condoms have a specific lifetime after which the product cannot be guaranteed to be of high quality so check the expiry date on the package and do not use product whose expiry date has passed.
  • When putting on a condom take care when opening the package and do not use your teeth. You might just inadvertently pierce the condom.
  • When putting on a condom you can do it yourself or have your partner do it. Place the condom at the tip of the erect penis and squeeze out the air from the "nipple" at the end. Then use your other hand to unroll the condom over the penis. Make sure you unroll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis.
  • Make sure the condom is applied well in advance of penetration and always before any sexual touching or oral contact.
  • Use only water soluble lubricants - Most condoms come pre-lubricated but if more lubrication is necessary do not use ordinary petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or oil of any kind. Latex condoms will deteriorate if exposed to oil or petroleum products.
  • Never lubricate your penis before putting on a condom. If you want to apply the lubricant to the penis do it only after the condom is already on.
  • Removal - If you had penetrating sex make sure that you hold the base of the condom firmly against the penis when withdrawing. Remove carefully from the penis to avoid spilling semen, knot the end of the condom and discard it. Wash your hands immediately.
  • Never reuse a condom. If you are energetic enough to have sex again in repeated intervals then use a new condom every time.
  • Safe Condom Disposal
    Wrap the used condom in toilet paper and dispose of it in the garbage. Latex rubber is not a good product to be flushing down the toilet. Condoms are used in all parts of the world and can have a significant impact on the environment. Environmentalists have reported that condoms in the sewage system find their way into the ocean where they get caught on coral reefs and smother ocean plant life.

    Use your condom sense in protecting yourself from sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy. Just remember that in order to achieve the prevention rates listed at the beginning of this article you must engage in proper condom use 100% of the time.