Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
The Correct Use of Condoms - A Message to Teens
As a teen, you are faced with many challenges and decisions that will affect the rest of your life. Deciding when to begin having sex is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. It is perfectly normal not to have sex until marriage. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unplanned pregnancies are at all-time highs for people your age. Not having sex (abstinence) is the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. It’s also the only way to avoid getting sexually transmitted HIV, the AIDS virus. However, if you do decide to have sex, correct use of latex condoms will help you protect yourself and your partner against these risks.

Why use condoms?
A condom acts like a barrier or wall to keep semen, fluid from the vagina, and blood from passing from one person to the other during sex. These fluids can carry germs. If no condom is used, the germs can pass from the infected person to the uninfected person. Use of a condom also prevents unwanted pregnancies by keeping sperm out of the vagina.
Other good reasons to use condoms:
Some people have excuses for not using condoms, such as they are not comfortable, they lessen their enjoyment of sex, or they are unnatural. However, using a condom can make sex more enjoyable because both partners are more relaxed and secure. Besides, the risks involved with not using condoms make any excuses seem pretty weak.

How to buy condoms
When buying condoms, be sure the ones you choose:

Condoms come in different colors, textures, and sometimes sizes. A good-quality condom is the most important feature for safer sex. Other points to keep in mind when buying condoms:
Try not to feel embarrassed about buying condoms. By using condoms, you are proving that you are being responsible and there is nothing embarrassing about that.

How to put condoms on
Condoms are easy to use. However, they only work it they are used correctly. Follow these easy steps to make sure you are using them the right way:
1. Carefully remove the condom from the package.
2. Put the condom on the end of the penis when the penis is erect (“hard”).
3. Hold the condom by the tip and carefully roll the condom all the way to the base of the penis.
4. Leave extra space (1/4 to 1/2 inch) at tip of the condom to catch the semen.
If you do not have much experience with condoms, you should practice putting a condom on and taking it off by yourself, before you use it for sex with another person. Be sure to put the condom on when an erection first occurs.
Do not wait until you are ready to have sex — it may be too late.
Drops of semen may leak from the uncovered penis. These small drops are enough to pass STDs to the other person or to cause a woman to get pregnant. For added protection against STDs and pregnancy, use a spermicidal foam, cream, or jelly along with the condom. Make sure the spermicide you use contains nonoxynol-9.

How to take condoms off
Withdraw the penis from the vagina right after ejaculation, while it is still erect or “hard.” Hold on to the condom at the rim while the penis is withdrawn. Be careful as you slide it off the penis. Do not tug to pull condom off — it may tear. Throw away used condoms immediately. Never use a condom more than once. Be sure to keep used condoms away from your partner’s genitals and other areas of the body as well. This will prevent semen from getting on hands or other body parts. If this happens, wash any areas of the body that have been touched by the semen. Always insist that a condom be used every time you have sex. It is the only way to be sure that you are protected from infection. You should say NO to sex if you don’t have a condom or if your partner refuses to use one.

Special points to remember:

See your pediatrician if you or your partner have any of the following:
- discharge from the vagina, penis, or rectum
- pain or burning during urination or sex
- pain in the abdomen, testes, buttocks, and legs
- blisters, open sores, warts, rash, or swelling in the genital area or mouth
- flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, aching muscles, or swollen glands
- miss a period and think you might be pregnant

Why should I use a condom?
To prevent the spread of AIDS and other diseases
To prevent pregnancy

When should I use a condom?
Every time you have sex

How do I use a condom?

Not having sex is the safest. However, if you are having sex, be sure to always use a latex condom. It is the best way for you and your partner to stay healthy. For more information about condoms and how to prevent STDs and pregnancy, talk with your pediatrician.