Some se_xually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be transmitted or contracted even if a co_ndom is worn during int_ercourse. STDs that are spread by skin-to-skin contact can still be spread when a co_ndom is used during se_x. This happens when an STD on the skin is exposed to parts of an infected part of the partner’s body that is not covered by a co_ndom.
Co_ndoms act as a barrier to STDs that are found in bodily fluids like se_men, va_ginal fluids and blood by either containing the fluids if the individual wearing the con_dom is infected, or protecting the individual who is wearing the co_ndom from an infected partner. This goes for whether or not a male or female co_ndom is being used.
Only co_ndoms that are manufactured for STD prevention are considered suitable to prevention in the FDA’s eyes. Natural con_doms, like those made of lambskin, are not safe for preventing STDs; their pores are too small to allow spe_rm cells to pass through, but viruses and bacteria can permeate the pores and spread. Learn more about the different types of con_doms here.
STDs that can be contracted while using a co_ndom include:
HPV (human papillomavirus)
HPV is the most common STI; there are over 100 strains of the virus. Some strains of HPV go unnoticed and seem to cause no symptoms at all, while others can cause ge_nital warts or various cancers. Because genital warts can be on parts of the genitals that are not covered by a co_ndom, especially female con_doms, HPV can be spread via skin-to-skin contact. What’s worse– there is no male STD test for HPV and many cases show no symptoms, so it is often passed on unknowingly to partners.
Ge_nital her_pes is a viral STD that typically results in sores or lesions on the ge_nitals, a_nus or upper thighs. A case of either HSV-1 or HSV-2 is called ge_nital her_pes when it affects the ge_nitals or the ge_nital area. Since lesions or sores can occur on parts of the genital region that is exposed during co_ndom use, it can be spread from partner to partner.
Syp_hilis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that spreads through se_xual contact, including o_ral, va_ginal, and a_nal se_x. Sy_philis sores occur at the infection site, and can be contracted by a partner via skin-to-skin contact regardless of co_ndom use.
Pu_bic lice, also known as crabs, are Pthirus pubis that infect the ge_nitals. These lice are most common among teens and are typically spread during se_xual, skin-to-skin contact. Pu_bic lice can live among pu_bic hair and can spread whether a co_ndom is used or not.
Molluscum contagiosum causes small red or pink raised bumps to form on the body. These firm bumps are typically painless and can sometimes appear as small dimples. When they occur on the ge_nitals from skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual, and they are considered an STI.