The aim of using a condom is to ensure that there is no contact between the sexual fluids that come from a man’s penis and the sexual fluids, blood or ‘lining’ inside his partner’s body (vagina or anus). Using a condom prevents transmission of sexually transmitted diseases/illnesses (STIs) – from man to woman and from woman to man or from man to man. Using a condom prevents unwanted pregnancy and allows couples to plan when they have children. If used correctly, a condom stops HIV passing from an infected person (who may not know he or she is infected) to an uninfected person. Condoms can also stop someone with HIV being re-infected with the virus. Without a condom, STIs and HIV can pass from one body to another – man or woman. During penetrative intercourse without a condom (in other words, where sexual fluids mix as a result of contact between genitals), a man’s body can pick up HIV from an infected partner – or a woman’s body can pick up HIV from an infected partner. Condom use is always crucial because HIV and some other STIs have no symptoms – they are invisible. Another advantage is that condoms delay ejaculation, increasing the length of penetrative sexual intimacy and pleasure. Many people have already contracted HIV. Using condoms correctly can protect them from re-infection and from increasing their viral load. Condoms also keep their partners or spouses safe from infection during intercourse. Condoms, used properly and with confidence (every time):
* Can prevent (re-)infection from many STIs, including HIV. * Can protect fertility (some STIs, with few evident symptoms, can cause infertility in women and men). * Can enable you to plan pregnancy – or prevent it.
* Can help you avoid anxiety and risk and let you choose health, safe pleasure and to care for your body (whatever sex you are) and for your partner’s body (whatever sex they are).