Extra protection from STDs for women

Use condoms with a new partner until you are certain he or she does not have any sexually transmitted disease (STD). Also continue to use condoms until you are certain you are having sex exclusively with each other (monogamous relationship).

The female condom is a tube of soft plastic with a closed end. Both ends have a ring or rim. The ring at the closed end is inserted deep into the vagina over the cervix, like a diaphragm, to hold the tube in place. The ring at the open end remains outside the opening of the vagina.

The female condom can be inserted up to 8 hours before sexual intercourse. It contains lubricant on the inside. It is not used with a spermicide. The female condom cannot be used at the same time as a male condom. The female condom should be removed immediately after intercourse, before the woman gets up. The outside ring is twisted to close off the condom and hold the semen inside before the condom is removed. A new condom should be used with each act of sexual intercourse.

Female condoms may provide slightly better protection from STDs than male condoms, because they cover more of the external genitals, but are not as effective for preventing pregnancy.

Many women who use birth control methods (such as the pill or an intrauterine device) may not use condoms. Although these other birth control methods help prevent pregnancy, they do not provide any protection against STDs.

Last Updated: September 30, 2009

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