So much attention focuses on promoting condom use in young people. Promoting condom use is important because, when used correctly, condoms are very effective at preventing HIV. But they need to be used correctly, and unfortunately we may not do such a good job of explaining to young people how to use condoms correctly. It isn't rocket science, but there are a few important things to know.
We just published result of a study showing 95% of young men who have sex with men (MSM) make errors when using condoms. So what were some of the most common errors made by young MSM? 59% did not squeeze air out of the condom, 42% used an oil-based lube, and 25% started having sex before they put on the condom. These kinds of errors increased condom breakage and slippage. For example, oil-based lubricants (like hand lotion or Vaseline) damage the condom and eventually can cause it to break during sex. Water- and silicone-based lubricants are what you want to use. To make it easy, many lubricants indicate on the bottle "safe for use with latex condoms." You also want to make sure to use a condom from start to finish because fluids are present before ejaculation that can transmit HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. In other words, if you don't use condoms correctly they don't work as well to protect you from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.