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How to correctly use condoms

Correct and consistent condom use remains one of the most effective ways of preventing transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

In the first half of 2018, sixty million,  seven hundred and twenty seven thousand, two hundred and sixty nine (63 727 269) male condoms and six million, five hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and thirty six (6 599 936) female condoms were distributed across Zimbabwe.

Nac and its partners in the response to HIV have for a long time been advising people to use condoms as a way of preventing infections.

However, some readers have contacted our offices indicating that they do not how to use condoms correctly. It is important that people get to know how to use these condoms properly.

How to correctly use condoms
We share with you tips on how to keep and use condoms correctly.

When used consistently and correctly, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV. They are also effective at preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that are transmitted through bodily fluids.

However, they provide less protection against STIs that spread through skin-to-skin contact like human papilloma virus (genital warts) and genital herpes. There are two types of condoms: male and female.

You need to know how to keep condoms and use them correctly. Condoms can be obtained for free in most health institutions, National Aids Council offices and Zimbabwe National Family Planning Clinics.

If you are not sure of how to use a condom correctly, do not hesitate to ask health personnel. They can actually demonstrate using dummy body parts, how you can put on either the female or the male condom.

How to use condoms
Male and female condoms can be used to protect you from HIV or other STIs. But do not use them both at the same time. If used together, they will not stay in place, and they can tear or become damaged.

Read the instructions on the condom package and practice before using them for the first time. Also, follow these guidelines:

Male Condom
- Keep male condoms in a cool, dry place. Do not keep them in your wallet or in your car. This can cause them to break or tear.

- Check the wrapper for tears and for the expiration date, to make sure the condom is not too old to use. Carefully open the wrapper. Do not use your teeth or fingernails. Make sure the condom looks okay to use. Do not use a condom that is gummy, brittle, discoloured, or has even a tiny hole.

- If the condom does not have a reservoir tip, pinch the tip enough to leave a half-inch space for semen to collect.

Holding the tip, unroll the condom all the way to the base of the erect penis.

- Use a new condom if you want to have sex again or in a different way.

Female condom
- Store the female condom at normal room temperature.

- Check the wrapper for tears and for the expiration date, to make sure the condom is not too old to use. Carefully open the wrapper. Do not use your teeth or fingernails. Make sure the condom looks okay to use. The condom will be moist and may be slippery.

- Put the condom into the vagina up to eight hours before having sex. The condom cannot disappear inside your body.

- To insert the condom, squeeze the inner ring with your thumb and middle finger and insert it like a tampon. Then, use your index finger to push the inner ring as far up as it will go, without twisting the condom. There should be about an inch of condom outside your vagina to allow for the condom to expand during sex.

- During sex, make sure the outer ring of the condom is not pushed into your vagina.

- Remove the condom before standing up.

Dispose all used condoms in places which cannot be reached by children and animals.