Use Condoms the Right Way

To protect against STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), use condoms the right way. Except for not having sex (abstinence), latex condoms give the best protection from many STDs including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Condoms are helpful only if used the right way. Use a latex condom every time you have sex. Always put the condom on before the penis touches or enters the vagina. If you or your partner has an allergy to latex, you should use a plastic (polyurethane) condom.

Important steps for using condoms the right way:

  1. Check the expiration date.
  2. Check the condition of the package.
  3. Open the package carefully.
  4. Hold the condom by the last 1/2 inch at the tip, and squeeze out the air.
  5. If the penis is uncircumcised, pull back the foreskin.
  6. Place the condom on the tip of the penis.
  7. Unroll the condom to the base of the penis. Smooth out any extra air.
  8. If you want or need to use lubricant on the condom, only use water-based lubricants like K-Y Jelly or Surgilube. Do not use oil-based lubricants. They can weaken condoms and cause them to break. Do not use petroleum jelly, cooking or vegetable oil, mineral or baby oil, massage oil, butter, margarine, oil-based creams, or lotions.
  9. Immediately after ejaculation, hold the condom firmly by the rim at the base of the penis, and pull the penis and condom out of the vagina together, while the penis is still erect.
  10. Look carefully at the condom to see if there is a hole in it. If you are not sure, fill the condom with water to see if it leaks.
  11. Discard the condom. Wrap it in tissue, and throw it away. Do not flush it down the toilet.
  12. Never re-use a condom.

Revised September 2011

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com