According to the CDC website, using male condoms or barriers like female condoms/dental dams can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), viral hepatitis and other diseases such as Zika and Ebola.
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And according to the CDC's national 2016 STD Surveillance Report, STDs are on the rise. Georgia ranked among the top five states in America with the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.
Nationally, more than 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in the United States in 2016. It's the highest number ever.
“The failure of condoms to protect against STD/HIV transmission usually results from inconsistent or incorrect use, rather than product failure,” the website states.
Here are some guidelines to follow when using a condom:
- Wear a new condom for every act of sex — vaginal, anal and oral — and use it from start to finish.
- Check the condom's expiration date (found on the packaging).
- Store your condoms in a cool, dry place.
- Leave a half-inch space inside the condom for semen to collect and make sure none spills out when you remove the condom.
- If you think the condom is going to break, stop immediately, remove the condom and grab a new one.
- Avoid oil-based lubricants, as they can weaken latex and cause breakage. Use water-based or silicone-based lubricants instead.
- Do not reuse condoms.
You can find more helpful tips on using male and female condoms, as well as dental dams, at cdc.gov.
When should you get tested and for what? CDC recommendations:
Anyone between the ages 13 and 64 should be tested at least once for HIV.
Anyone who is sexually active should talk to a healthcare provider about other STD testing.
The CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for women 25 and under, as well as for older women at high risk.
Women at high risk (those with new or multiple sex partners) should also request annual gonorrhea tests and anyone who has never been tested for HIV should do so.
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Pregnant women should request STD tests for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and heptatis B early in their pregnancy.
Pregnant women younger than 25 or pregnant women with new or multiple sex partners should also request gonorrhea and chlamydia tests early on.
The CDC recommends sexually active men who have sex with other men should be tested for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV at least once a year.
Men at high risk, such as men with multiple partners, should request testing every three to six months.