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Condom FAQs

Condom FAQs


For more information, call and speak to a STAP Educator at 800-333-0892.

FREE male and female condoms are avaliable at all STAP locations.

How effective are latex condoms in preventing HIV?

Studies have shown that latex condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV transmission when used consistently and correctly. These studies looked at uninfected people considered to be at very high risk of infection because they were involved in sexual relationships with HIV-infected people. The studies found that even with repeated sexual contact, 98-100% of those people who used latex condoms correctly and consistently did not become infected with HIV.


I'm allergic to latex (and/or my partner is). What brands of polyurethane condoms are available as an alternative?

There are currently several available brands of polyurethane condoms that can be used as alternatives to latex condoms.

1) The Female Condom (f2): The first condom designed to be worn by women for vaginal sex: it's also easily used by men for anal sex. Made of soft polyurethane, this product actually offers more protection against pregnancy and disease because it covers more area and is compatible with water-, silicon-, and oil-based lubricants.

2) Avanti Duron Condom: Avanti was the first polyurethane condom. It's strong, nonporous, and non-permeable to all viruses and protects against STIs including HIV. It's hypoallergenic and thinner than latex, so it can transmit more sensation and warm to the body's temperature unlike latex. It's safe to use with water-, silicon-, and oil-based lubricants. Because polyurethane isn't quite as elastic as latex, the Avanti is slightly larger than the average latex condom.

**For the record, Consumer Reports and the FDA have both reported that the Avanti breaks more readily than a latex condom, and are recommending them exclusively for those with latex allergies.**

3) Trojan Supra Condom: The Supra is made from a medical-grade, advanced material called Microsheer, it's ultra-thin, strong, and clear (almost invisible), and has no latex allergens. It's compatible with water-,silicon-, and oil-based lubricants, has no taste or smell, and can transmit body heat, unlike latex. Supras are also quite a bit larger than the average condom.

4) LifeStyles Skyn condom: This condom is made from a technologically advanced material called Polyisoprene, which is thin, strong and clear, with no latex allergens. It is compatible with water-based and silicone-based lubricants. These are approximately the same size as a standard condom.


DO NOT use lambskin condoms; they do not prevent transmission of HIV.


Is it safe/safer to use two condoms (instead of one) at the same time?

This is sometimes referred to as "double bagging." It is better to use a single condom at a time. When a single condom is used properly, the resulting safety factor for prevention of HIV transmission increases dramatically. When two condoms are used, there is a much bigger chance of friction between the two latex barriers. Friction (heat) is a condom's worst/biggest enemy. Heat contact with latex will increase the chance of breakage. (Hot temperatures, humidity, and even ultraviolet light can contribute to the deterioration of latex condoms.)


Does the spermicide nonoxyl-9 (N-9) help prevent HIV infection?

No. Recent scientific studies have conclusively proven nonoxyl-9 ineffective in preventing HIV transmission. In fact, it actually appears to increase your chances of becoming infected with HIV. Given the risks and the lack of any preventive benefits, the use of nonoxyl-9 is no longer recommended as a preventive measure against HIV transmission/infection.


What kinds of lubricants should I use?

It is always safe to use water-based lubricants and silicone-based lubricants with latex condoms. The lubrication heightens the sexual experience and, if you put a few drops of lube inside the tip of the condom, you'll have better stimulation along with added safety.


It is NEVER safe to use oil-based lubricants (skin lotions, baby oil, Vaseline, Crisco, cold cream, or even whipped cream) with latex condoms because oil dramatically weakens latex and definitely increases the chances of condom failure/breakage. For example, mineral oil is a common ingredient in many lotions. According to the CDC, within as little as 60 seconds of exposure, a 90% decrease in latex strength will occur in a condom when using an oil based lubricant. To demonstrate this phenomenon, blow up a latex condom, place a dab of oil or lotion on it, and watch it explode. The moral of the story? Don’t use oil on latex!


Only polyurethane condoms can safely be used with oil-based lubricants, so if you must use an oil-based lubricant, please use only polyurethane condoms. Polyurethane condoms also work well with water-based and silicone-based lubricants.

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