How can I get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) if I'm using a condom?

A condom that is used correctly and not damaged should protect you from most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Be sure to check the expiration date on the condom. Follow the directions so it does not break. You should be aware that condoms do not protect against pubic mites (crabs).
Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine

Condoms absolutely decrease greatly your risk of sexually transmitted infections (STDs), especially for the STDs transmitted via body fluids -- gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, and trichomoniasis. However, condoms can only cover one area. Diseases that can be transmitted outside that area, by direct skin-to-skin contact, can still be spread despite proper condom use. Which diseases are these? Herpes, HPV (the wart virus), syphilis, and pubic lice (crabs).

Also, because there is a roughly 10% failure rate of condoms through breakage, there is still a chance (1 in 10) of being exposed to potential disease. Not to mention that in real life studies, condom failure rates are more like 20%, because they are simply not used consistently.
Condoms are very helpful in decreasing disease transmission, but don't be fooled that simply using condoms guarantees safe sex.

Continue Learning about Condoms

What are the disadvantages of using a condom?
Boston Women's Health Book CollectiveBoston Women's Health Book Collective
Disadvantages of using condoms are as given below:May disrupt spontaneity during sexCan reduce sensi...
More Answers
Why do some men lose their erection when they put on a condom?
Madeleine M. Castellanos, MDMadeleine M. Castellanos, MD
It may sound like an excuse to get out of wearing a condom, but many guys have problems maintain...
More Answers
What are the advantages of using a condom?
Boston Women's Health Book CollectiveBoston Women's Health Book Collective
Advantages of using condoms are as follows:Do not require advance planning, clinic visits, or a pres...
More Answers
Can we use plastic wrap or a balloon if we don't have a condom?
Carlos Mirabal, NASM Elite TrainerCarlos Mirabal, NASM Elite Trainer
Absolutely not.  Do not use plastic wrap or a balloon in place of a condom.  Condoms are made specif...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.