What do I do if a condom splits?
Condoms are very reliable so long as you use them correctly. However, if a condom does split, try not to panic and just follow these simple steps:
1. Withdraw the penis immediately
2. Don’t wash inside the anus or vagina as this can spread infection
3. If you need to, go to a healthcare facility to access emergency contraception
4. Get an HIV and STI test
To stop a condom from breaking, make sure you put it on correctly, use a water-based lubricant, and only use one condom at a time.
How effective are condoms?
Used correctly condoms are very unlikely to fail. Before they are sold condoms go through a quality assurance test. This means that the people who make them do checks to make sure that they meet the high standards needed to provide you with protection. So long as it hasn't past the expiry date, there shouldn't be anything wrong with the condom. However, it is better to buy condoms from brands or sellers that you trust.
For condoms to be effective, you must:
1. use them every time you have sex
2. put them on before you start having sex
3. keep them on the whole time that you are having sex
4. follow the instructions on how to use condoms correctly.
Condoms are effective for all kinds of sex and you can increase their effectiveness by using a lubricant.
If we are in a relationship can we stop using condoms?
The decision of whether or not to use a condom is for you to make together as a couple. It might depend on several factors, for example, if you have an undetectable viral load, if your partner wants to take PrEP, if either of you are having sex with anyone else, and if you're planning a family. There are many more things that might influence your decision. It's important that neither partner feels pressured into doing something that they are not comfortable with. You don't have to stop using a condom to prove that you love or trust your partner, there are many other ways of showing that you care.
Before you stop using condoms, you should be sure that you have an undetectable viral load or that your partner is taking PrEP (or both). You should also both get an STI check-up and if you're not ready for a baby you might want to consider other contraceptive options. Remember condoms are the only contraception that also protects against HIV and other STIs.