February is National Condom Month!

Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are a vital part of reducing the risk of STD and HIV transmission. Currently there are a few types of barrier methods that are commonly used: the external (“male”) condom, the internal (“female”) condom, and dental dams.

As mentioned above, condoms are not just a way to reduce unintended pregnancy, they also provide a level of protection against STDs that are transmitted by genital fluids, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and HIV. According to the CDC, latex condoms provide an essentially impermeable barriers to particles the size of STD pathogens [1]. To highlight the impact condoms have on transmission rates, data presented at the 2018 International AIDS Conference (Amsterdam, Netherlands) shows that promotion of condoms has prevented an estimated 50 million new HIV infections since the onset of the HIV epidemic 30 years ago [2].

As with most things related to health, the terminology and technology is always changing. In January of 2019, the FDA made three important changes to the classification of the “female” condom. They are now renamed a “single-used internal condom,” a gender-free name to be more inclusive of those encouraged to use it. The FDA also approved internal condoms for both vaginal and anal intercourse, endorsing the condom for a larger range of sexual activities [3]. Finally, the FDA recategorized the internal condom from regulatory Class III to Class II medical device. According to the FDA, a Class III medical device is typically highly controlled in terms of marketing and reviews for safety and effectiveness. The switch to a Class II category means the safety and effectiveness standards have been met consistently. This reclassification means manufacturers will have an easier time getting FDA approval to develop new versions of internal condoms. The internal condom is now in the same regulatory class as the external condom.

Here are some important tips for using condoms consistently and correctly [4]:

  • The very first thing to check on any condom is the expiration date and if there is any damage or defects to the condom. Should you find a defect, discard the condom and use a damage-free one.
  • A new condom should be used every time you have sex (vaginally, anally, or orally) throughout the entire sex act (from start to finish).
  • If you feel the condom break at any point during sexual activity, stop immediately, remove the broken condom and put on a new one.
  • If using a condom during vaginal or anal sex, ensure it is properly lubricated. Use a water-based lubricant for latex condoms. Oil-based lubricants can weaken latex and cause breakage.

Don’t forget! Caring Communities offers free condoms at all of our office locations!

Additionally, as part of our Condom Distribution Program, we supply local venues with free condoms to give to their clients and/or customers. Feel free to contact us at 570-829-2700, option 2 to find out where the nearest free condom location is to you!

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/latex.html


[3] https://www.poz.com/article/introducing-genderless-singleuse-internal-condom

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/brief.html 8