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Talking about hepatitis C with immigrants and newcomers to Canada. Sharing the voices of people with lived experience on World Hepatitis Day. Condoms are physical barriers that can reduce the risk of a sexual exposure to HIV because they are made of materials that do not allow HIV to pass through them.
The consistent and correct use of external sometimes referred to as male or internal sometimes referred to as female condoms is a highly effective strategy to help prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. When this highly effective strategy is used consistently and correctly the risk for HIV transmission is very low. Condoms are also highly effective at preventing other sexually transmitted infections STIs.
The external condom , also known as the male condom, is a sheath made from polyurethane, latex or polyisoprene, which covers the penis during sexual intercourse. There are many types and brands of external condoms available. The internal condom , also known as the female condom, is a pouch made of polyurethane or nitrile.
The internal condom was deed for vaginal sex but can also be used for anal sex. The pouch is open at one end and closed at the other, with a flexible ring at both ends. The ring at the closed end is inserted into the vagina or anus to hold the condom in place. The ring at the open end of the pouch remains outside of the vagina or anus. Laboratory studies show that the materials used to make most condoms such as latex, nitrile, polyurethane and polyisoprene do not let HIV pass through them.
Condoms act as a barrier to HIV infection by preventing the vagina, penis, rectum and mouth from being exposed to bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal fluid and rectal fluid that can contain HIV. Some condoms are made from a thin membrane of sheep intestine.
These natural membrane condoms are also known as lambskin condoms. They can be used to help prevent pregnancy, but they should not be used as an HIV prevention strategy because HIV can pass through them. Condoms are a highly effective strategy to help prevent the sexual transmission of HIV when they are used consistently and correctly. They have been well studied in laboratory tests. It has been determined that condoms made of latex, polyurethane, nitrile and polyisoprene are impermeable to HIV, meaning that HIV cannot pass through them. Condoms can fail to prevent an exposure to HIV if they break, slip or leak during sex.
These types of mechanical condom failures are relatively rare, with studies estimating that external condoms fail between 0. In studies of condom breakage, slip and leakage, it was not possible to know how many participants were using condoms correctly. However, research suggests that rates of condom failure decrease with more frequent condom use and more experiences of failure. This evidence all points to the conclusion that over time people learn to use condoms correctly and this reduces failure rates.
However, a risk of failure is always possible, even for experienced condom users who use condoms consistently and correctly. The effectiveness of condoms in reducing HIV transmission risk has not been evaluated in randomized controlled trials, which are generally considered to produce the highest quality evidence. However, observational studies of external condoms have been conducted among serodiscordant couples in which one partner is HIV positive and the other is HIV negative.
Meta-analyses have also been conducted, in which researchers have combined and analyzed the of many observational studies. This wide range of estimates may have to do with the limitations of observational research and the different ways in which researchers have conducted the analyses. These observational studies have three key limitations:.
Improve awareness of condoms as a highly effective HIV prevention strategy and knowledge of how to use them correctly. Education and counselling activities related to sexual health and HIV prevention should include information on the HIV prevention benefits of condoms. External or internal condoms can be used for both vaginal and anal sex. Service providers can promote condoms as one of several highly effective ways to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV, along with pre-exposure prophylaxis PrEP , post-exposure prophylaxis PEP and the use of antiretroviral treatment ART to maintain an undetectable viral load.
Encourage clients to choose the combination of strategies that will work most effectively for them. It is also important to provide education on how to use condoms correctly, to prevent breakage, slip and leakage during sex and to maximize condom effectiveness. The correct use of condoms means:. Unlike most other HIV prevention strategies, condoms can help to prevent other STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes and syphilis, as well as unintended pregnancy.
Condoms and lubricant should be made available and offered to clients for free, if possible. Service providers can support clients to overcome barriers to consistent and correct condom use. Common barriers to consistent condom use may include difficulty negotiating their use, lack of availability at the time of sex, erectile dysfunction, reduced pleasure or intimacy, discomfort and latex allergies. Possible solutions to these barriers include planning ahead to ensure condoms are available, using lubricant and finding the brand of external condom that works best for the person.
The solution to latex allergies may be to use non-latex external condoms or to opt for an internal condom instead of an external condom. Exploring barriers to condom use can facilitate a discussion about other highly effective HIV prevention strategies, such as the use of PrEP, for example. Consider couples-based counselling for people in relationships whether monogamous or not. This may help to create a supportive space for couples to come to a consensual agreement on how to lower their chances of HIV transmission, find ways to support each other in using HIV prevention strategies consistently and correctly, and discuss potentially sensitive issues relevant to HIV prevention and condom use.
Discuss how condoms fit into a comprehensive plan for sexual health, including regular STI testing and other safer sex strategies. It is important that clients understand the benefits and limitations of condoms, and the other options available to them, so they can make an informed decision about how condoms fit into their own comprehensive sexual health plan. A person who uses condoms regularly may want to consider taking PEP if they experience condom failure a break, slip or leak and have a potential HIV exposure. An additional benefit of condoms is that they can also help prevent STIs, which other highly effective HIV prevention strategies do not.
HIV prevention counselling offers an opportunity to engage individuals in additional services. In addition to reinforcing safer sex strategies and providing information about all HIV prevention options, service providers can help clients address the underlying factors that may increase their HIV risk, such as depression or use of alcohol and other substances. Providing referrals and linkage to other appropriate and relevant support services can help set people up to successfully adopt HIV prevention strategies.
Be prepared to discuss the legal issues around HIV disclosure. Canadian law requires that people tell their sex partners that they have HIV in certain circumstances. Using a condom does not necessarily remove the duty to disclose. However, the law and its application are evolving.
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Hepatitis C Subscriptions Become a Member. Condoms for the prevention of HIV transmission. Alphabetical fact sheet listing Categorized fact sheet listing. Print-friendly PDF. Summary Condoms are physical barriers that can reduce the risk of a sexual exposure to HIV because they are made of materials that do not allow HIV to pass through them. What types of condoms are available to prevent HIV transmission?
Two types of condoms are available to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV: The external condom , also known as the male condom, is a sheath made from polyurethane, latex or polyisoprene, which covers the penis during sexual intercourse.
How do condoms help prevent the sexual transmission of HIV? How effective are condoms at preventing the sexual transmission of HIV? These observational studies have three key limitations: The researchers did not ask people about whether they were using condoms correctly. We know that incorrect use can cause condoms to break, slip or leak, allowing HIV to enter the body. To determine whether condoms were being used consistently, these studies relied on what participants told the researchers about their condom use.
Self-reports can be an unreliable way of measuring behaviours that may be considered socially undesirable, such as sex without a condom. Couples may not have used a condom for every sex act, even though they reported using them consistently. In these studies, couples were not randomly ased to use condoms or not. Without randomization, the two groups the group that said they used condoms consistently and the group that said they did not may have been different in other ways that may have contributed to a lower level of effectiveness.
How can service providers improve the uptake and correct use of condoms? Facilitate and support the use of condoms as a prevention strategy. Encourage a comprehensive plan for sexual health. Address underlying risk of HIV transmission. Condoms prevent transmission of AIDS-associated retrovirus. Journal of the American Medical Association. In vitro evaluations of condoms with and without nonoxynol 9 as physical and chemical barriers against Chlamydia trachomatis, herpes simplex virus type 2, and human immunodeficiency virus. Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
Condoms as physical and chemical barriers against human immunodeficiency virus. The latex condom, an efficient barrier against sexual transmission of AIDS-related viruses. Evaluation of the virus permeability of a new condom for women. S exually Transmitted Diseases. Food and Drug Administration. Summary of safety and effectiveness data: FC2 female condom. Durex synthetic polyisoprene male condom Pre-market Notification k Summary. Lifestyles lubricated polyisoprene latex male condom Pre-market Notification k Summary.
Condom use errors and problems: a global view. Sexual Health. Crosby R, Bounse S. Condom effectiveness: where are we now? Crosby RA. State of condom use in HIV prevention science and practice. Weller SC. A meta-analysis of condom effectiveness in reducing sexually transmitted HIV.What are the chances of getting aids with a condom
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Do condoms always prevent HIV transmission?