Maricopa County Maricopa County | Site Map | Search | Phone Directory | Departments | Services
corner image corner image
Maricopa County Public Health logo
A to Z Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

WARNING: The following page contains sexual content and may not be suitable for all ages.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)

Safer Sex


Condom History | Condom Facts | Types of Condoms | Using a Condom Correctly | Negotiation Skills




According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), consistent and correct use of male latex condoms can reduce (though not eliminate) the risk of a sexually transmitted disease. To achieve the maximum protective effect, condoms must be used both consistently and correctly. Inconsistent use can lead to a person contracting an STD because transmission can occur with a single act of intercourse with an infected partner. The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. However, many infected persons may be unaware of their infections because STDs are often asymptomatic or unrecognized.


History of condoms


Condom Facts


  • In order for a condom to be effective, it must be used before any type of sexual encounter/act, from beginning to end.

  • Do not "double-bag" (using more than one condom and one time) they could both tear due to friction between them.

  • In order to prevent the transmission of HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), you must use a latex condom, and not a "natural" or animal skin condom. Animal skin condoms have tiny holes that HIV can get through, whereas latex condoms do not.

  • Store condom in a cool, dry place. Stay away from storing it near sharp objects or in the heat. That includes wallets.


Condoms and STDs: CDC Prevention Messages

The following are prevention messages recently developed by the CDC:


  • Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of other STDs.

  • Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.

  • Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of genital herpes, syphilis, chancroid, and HPV only when the infected areas are covered or protected by the condom.

  • The use of latex condoms has been associated with a reduction in risk of HPV-associated diseases, such as cervical cancer.



  1. Latex Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases -- Prevention Messages, National Center for HIV, STD & TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA (undated document).

  2. Table organized by


Back to top



There is a condom for everyone!




Condoms made of latex or polyurethane.


  • Latex condoms can only be used with water based lubricants, not oil based lubricants such as petroleum based products or hand lotion as they break down the latex.

  • Allergic to latex? No problem. Use polyurethane! They are made from a type of plastic and can be used with both oil and water based lubricants. They are also thinner than latex condoms which can increase sensitivity.


The lubrication on condoms varies.


  • Some condoms are not lubricated; some are lubricated with a silicone substance or have a water-based lubricant.

  • The lubrication on condoms makes the condom easier to put on and more comfortable to use. It can also help prevent condom breakage.

  • Lubricants also come in various flavors (banana, cherry, cola, chocolate, mint, etc.). Note that flavored condoms should only be used for oral sex.

  • Some condoms can contain spermicide, which is a chemical product that inactivates or kills sperm to prevent pregnancy.


Condoms come in a variety of shapes.


  • Condoms are made in different lengths and widths. Different manufacturers produce different sizes, shapes and colors.

  • The width of a condom can also vary. Some condoms have a slightly smaller width to give a 'snugger' fit, whereas others will be slightly larger for increase/decrease in sensitivity.

  • Ultra thin condoms are for those who say “I don’t like the way they feel”. These condoms make it seem like there is no barrier. They also can increase sensitivity.

  • Condoms may be regular shaped, which have straight sides. These can come in a variety of colors and textures.

  • Form fit, which is indented below the head of the penis. This increases sensitivity for males who wear them.

  • Flared, this is wider over the head of the penis (similar to a light bulb). The extra latex increases sensitivity for both men and women.

  • Ribbed/studded condoms are textured with ribs or bumps, which can increase sensation for both partners. Ribbed condoms increase sensitivity for both men and women, while studded increases sensitivity for women. Some condoms even have both ribbed and studded on a single condom.


Condoms also come in a variety of colors as well as glow in the dark.


Condoms are available to buy from adult boutiques, supermarkets, convenience stores and gas stations. You can also get them from your local public health office or family planning clinic. Vending machines selling condoms are found in restrooms at many locations. You can even order them from online distributors.


There are no age limits for buying condoms. Buying a condom no matter how old you are shows that you are taking responsibility for your actions.


Back to top



How to use a Condom correctly


Condom Use


Before Intercourse


  1. Make sure to look for the expiration date on the condom as well as making sure there are no holes or tears on the condom package. This could mean the condom is old, dry and brittle and could break easily.

  2. Carefully remove condom from package. Avoid using teeth to tear open; this may cause you to rip the condom.

  3. Pinch condom tip to remove any air and place on tip of penis. Any air trapped in the condom could cause the condom to break while engaging in intercourse.

  4. While still pinching tip of condom, roll the rest of the condom down all the way to the base of the penis

  5. Only use water-based lubrication to avoid breakage or damage to the latex.


After Intercourse


  1. While penis is still erect, grasp firmly at the base and slide condom off ensuring no fluid escapes. Dispose in trash. DO NOT REUSE!


Back to top



Negotiation Skills



"Don't you trust me?" "Trust isn't the point. Anyone can have an STD and not know it. Using a condom is a way to take care of both of us."
"I don't stay hard with I put a condom on" "I'll help you put it on, that will help you keep it hard."
"Let's just do it without a condom, just this once." "It only takes one time to get pregnant or STD. I can't have sex unless I know I'm being safe."
"If you really love me you won't make me use one" "It's because I love you that I want to make sure we are both protected."
"If you loved me you'd protect me"
"I can't feel anything with a condom on." "Many condoms have extra features to actually make sex better"
"I don't like using them, they always bust." "If we use them correctly, they are 98% effective"
"But we've had sex without a condom before" "That was a bad decision and I don't want to chance it again."
"Putting a condom on ruins the mood" "Putting one on makes me more in the mood"
"I can't find one that fits" "There are many sizes of condoms. Most can stretch 3 ft long and 18 inches wide."
"I'm on the pill, we don't need to use one" "The pill won't protect us from STDs that we may not know we have. A condom will give us that protection."
"I'm allergic to condoms" "Let's use non-latex condoms"


Back to top

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch videos on YouTube Subscribe to our e-mail updates here

En Español


Like our Facebook page!


Visit the new


Street Address:

1645 E. Roosevelt St.
Phoenix, AZ 85006

Free STD testing times and dates*


Clinic Hours:

M, Tu, Th, F
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Please register before 3:00 p.m.


No appointment necessary


Medical Records releases are done 7 days after your visit at these times:
Mon. through Fri.
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. & from 2:00p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ONLY


'One Night Stan'


HIPAA Privacy Notice