Do diaphragms prevent sexually transmitted diseases?

Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

Diaphragms provide a barrier against sperm and some of the toxins like nicotine that can be found in a partner’s sperm for the cervix. They can help prevent pregnancy and some cervical infections but need to be well fitted and maintained properly so there are no pin holes or slipping. They do not protect against many of the STDs and a better option to provide protection against pregnancy and STDs would be to have your partner wear a condom while you use the diaphragm.

No.  Diaphragms only protect against pregnancy by covering the cervix.  The mucous membranes of the vagina are still fully exposed to infectious agents during intercourse.  Always use condoms, male or female, for better protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
Angela Lowery
Family Medicine

Diaphragms alone do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. Your partner should wear a condom to offer additional protection. A condom and a diaphragm used together will provide the most protection against diseases and pregnancy.

Continue Learning about Diaphragms



A diaphragm is a dome-shaped form of birth control (barrier contraception) that is inserted into the vagina. When used with spermicide, diaphragms are 84% to 94% effective at preventing pregnancy when they are used every time you ...

have intercourse. Diaphragms do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, so you should also use condoms to help prevent STDs.

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.