Although no form of protection is 100% safe, the proper and consistent use of condoms can significantly reduce the risk of the transmission of HIV and STD's.

IMPORTANT:  Do NOT use condoms that are "spermicidally lubricated". These condoms contain the spermicide Nonoxynol-9  which can easily irritate the lining of the rectal mucosa which can increase the risk of HIV and other STI transmission. These condoms should only be used as a last resort --- you have no other condoms and are not willing to wait for sex. According to the World Health Organizations these condoms may increase the risk of HIV transmission and offer no statistically significant protection from pregnancy compared with regularly water-based lubricated condoms.  For more information contact: .



For best results...

Buying and Storing

  • Use latex or polyurethane condoms.
  • Check the expiry date on the package. If in doubt, get a fresh supply.
  • Store condoms in a cool, dry place. Exposure to heat can break down the latex. Polyurethane condoms are not affected by heat and light and may be stored for up to five years.

Male Condom Use

  • Do not open the package until you are ready to use the condom!
  • Open the package carefully to avoid tearing. Rough handling and long fingernails can damage condoms. The condom will only unroll one way. Figure out which way it unrolls.
  • A drop of water-based lubricant inside the tip of the condom will improve sensation
  • Pinch the air from the tip of the condom to leave space for the semen. Air left in the condom will cause it to burst. If the condom does not have a reservoir tip, pinch it to leave a half-inch space at the head of the penis for semen to collect after ejaculation.
  • Place the condom on the head of the erect penis and gently unroll it so it covers the entire penis. If uncircumcised, pull back the foreskin before rolling on the condom.
  • Remove any air remaining at the tip by gently pressing the air out towards the base of the penis.
  • Use a water-based lubricant (on the outside) to prevent the condom from deteriorating. Avoid Vaseline and oil-based products, as they may cause the condom to break. Avoid the use of Saliva as a lubircant.
  • In the event that the condom breaks, withdraw the penis and put on a new condom before resuming intercourse.
  • After ejaculation, slowly withdraw the penis while it is still erect. Hold the base (i.e. the rim) of the condom firmly, so that it does not slip off.
  • Remove the condom, being careful not to spill semen,
  • Throw it in the garbage (green if using Wet Dry), not the toilet.
  • Use condoms only once.

Interactive demo:

Negotiating Condom Use

Sometimes talking about using condoms can be awkward, especially if it’s somebody you don’t know. Nonetheless, remember you have a right to protect yourself and your health, and using condoms is a way to take care of your partner too – so you’re not being selfish at all.

A partner might have specific reasons for not wanting to use condoms. Look over this list to get ideas about how to respond if you ever feel pressured to have sex without a condom:

“Sex with condoms doesn’t feel as good. I can’t feel anything with one on...”
…sex may feel different with a condom, but it doesn’t have to be unpleasant. I know if we use condoms I’ll feel a lot safer and more relaxed, and that will make the sex more enjoyable for both of us.

“Don’t you trust me?”
…we may both believe we’re disease free and trust each other, but people can have an STI and not know it. We may not be able to trust our past partners. I trust that using a condom will protect us both.

“My HIV test was negative…”
…HIV is not the only infection I’m worried about. There are several STIs that may not have any visible symptoms even if you are infected. A condom will help protect us both from getting an STI.

“I love you. If you really loved me, you wouldn’t ask me to use a condom…”
…love isn’t the issue. Getting a sexually transmitted infection is. I think if you loved me you would be more concerned about protecting us both from infections.

It has been shown that those of us who stop using condoms at the beginning of a relationship will nearly always continue without them. If you’re starting a relationship and your partner wants to stop using condoms, don’t give in if you really want to continue using condoms. Explain to him that your decision is not a sign that you don’t trust him or that you cannot be trusted; it’s about caring enough about each other to acknowledge that mistakes can happen in any relationship. After all nobody’s perfect.

Some may think condom use within a relationship is a sign of failure. Rather, couldn’t condom use be a sign of mutual respect and caring?

Public Health Ministry of Ontario United Way Trillium Foundation Guelph Community Foundation