Buying and Storing Condoms
Sexual abstinence is the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. If you do have sex, correct use of a condom will help you to protect yourself and your partner against these risks. This guide tells you how to use a condom for maximum protection.
How to Buy Condoms
DO buy a supply of latex, reservoir tip (nipple), lubricated type condoms. They're available in different colors, textures, and sometimes in two different sizes. You may be able to get free condoms from your clinic. A good quality condom is the most important feature for safer sex.
DO check expiration date on the outer package.
DO check name of lubricant: it should NOT contain NONOXYNOL-9, which provides a chemical barrier against pregnancy. It has been found to actually enhance transmission of HIV due to irritation, which causes breaks in the skin.
DO store in a cool, dry place.
DO carry a condom with you at all times.
DON'T buy condoms made of any material other than latex. (Only latex prevents passage of harmful germs.)
DON'T buy condoms in a clear wrapper, which deteriorate more quickly than other condoms.
DON'T use or buy old (outdated) condoms.
DON'T store condoms in the car. Heat in the summer and extreme cold temperatures during the winter can damage condoms.
DON'T carry in hip wallet for long periods of time, this shortens shelf life.
DON'T be shy about buying condoms.
Adapted from the editors of Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, in collaboration with Reed Adams, PhD, Emanuel Fliegelman, DO, and Alan Grieco, PhD.