How can you protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases
(STDs) and HIV/AIDS? There's one way that's 100% safe: don't have sex (and we're talking vaginal, anal, and oral here). If you decide to have sex, condoms are the best way to protect yourself and your partner from STDs and HIV
Using condoms during vaginal sex is also an effective way to prevent pregnancy. Add another birth control method, and you'll have an even lower risk of getting pregnant. So double up: condoms plus another birth control method for safer sex and pregnancy prevention.
What kind of condoms are there?
Male condoms come in different sizes, textures, colors and flavors. They also come pre-lubricated or dry - pre-lubricated is best. Female condoms
also work great. Here's what's important:
- Use latex or polyurethane condoms. Don't use a condom that's made out of something else (like lambskin), because only latex and polyurethane condoms protect you and your partner against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Condoms with nonoxynol-9 (N-9) are not recommended because they may cause vaginal and anal irritation which increases the risk of getting an STD or HIV. For this same reason, don't use extra N-9 spermicide when using condoms.
Make sure you know how to use male condoms
the right way.
Where can I get condoms?
You can get male and female condoms at many places in your community. If you are interested in getting condoms, but don't know where to start looking, talk with a school nurse, an adult you trust, or a friend. Some places that often carry condoms include:
- Health centers, including Family Planning Program Sites
- Community organizations and youth organizations
- County Health Departments
- Drug stores, grocery stores and convenience stores (gas stations)
- Doctors' offices
Across New York State, some of these places offer free or low-cost condoms and lube. Get some NYC condoms and lube free at these New York City locations!
How much do condoms cost?
In stores and pharmacies, male latex condoms usually cost between $0.50 and $1 each, and come in boxes of 3 or more. Female condoms
are a bit more expensive, costing between $2 and $4 each. Places like health centers and youth organizations may have free or low-cost condoms.
What if I'm allergic to latex?
Some people have allergies to latex products (band-aids, rubber gloves and latex condoms). Polyurethane (a clear plastic) male condoms are an alternative to latex condoms. They cost a little bit more, but it's worth it! Female condoms are already made of polyurethane, so no worries there!