How successful are condoms at protecting against sexually transmitted infections?

How successful are condoms at protecting against sexually transmitted infections?

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Can condoms protect you from every sexually transmitted disease? A reader asks the experts at one of the UK’s busiest sexual health clinics, 56 Dean Street.


Everyone says that If you want safer sex, you have to use a condom. But can it prevent all diseases?
Best Jimmie

kerryank / Pixabay

Dear Jimmie

Having safer sex means having sex which has less risk of catching or passing on an STI.

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Using a condom is the best way to do this, however, it doesn’t completely prevent you from catching an STI. Lots of things can affect how likely you are to catch an STI such as a condom slipping or breaking during sex and contact during foreplay such as rubbing, masturbating each other and oral sex. A few things that can help are ensuring a condom is used from start to finish during penetration, using latex condom friendly lubricant (such as water or silicone based) and regular screening for STIs.

Do not use Vaseline or oil-based lubricants. You can walk in for an HIV test and Hepatitis B vaccines any time at 56 Dean Street and can make an appointment for a full screen. However, if you are under the age of 20 you can walk into the clinic at any time for a full screen. There is also a dedicated service for young people which runs Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening, details of this can be found on the website.

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Even if you do everything right accidents can happen so it’s good to know about PEP, this is a course of medication you may be able to take if you have been at high risk of HIV. You can also walk into the clinic to discuss PEP with a member of staff.

Have you got a dilemma you’d like our team of specialist to help you with? Click here.

About the author: 56 Dean Street
Dean Street is an award winning HIV and sexual health NHS clinic in the heart of Soho.