Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be transmitted or contracted even if a condom is worn during intercourse. STDs that are spread by skin-to-skin contact can still be spread when a condom is used during sex. 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 condom.
Condoms act as a barrier to STDs that are found in bodily fluids like semen, vaginal fluids and blood by either containing the fluids if the individual wearing the condom is infected, or protecting the individual who is wearing the condom from an infected partner. This goes for whether or not a male or female condom is being used.
Only condoms that are manufactured for STD prevention are considered suitable to prevention in the FDA’s eyes. Natural condoms, like those made of lambskin, are not safe for preventing STDs; their pores are too small to allow sperm cells to pass through, but viruses and bacteria can permeate the pores and spread. Learn more about the different types of condoms here.
STDs that can be contracted while using a condom 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 genital warts or various cancers. Because genital warts can be on parts of the genitals that are not covered by a condom, especially female condoms, 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.
- Genital herpes is a viral STD that typically results in sores or lesions on the genitals, anus or upper thighs. A case of either HSV-1 or HSV-2 is called genital herpes when it affects the genitals or the genital area. Since lesions or sores can occur on parts of the genital region that is exposed during condom use, it can be spread from partner to partner.
- Syphilis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that spreads through sexual contact, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Syphilis sores occur at the infection site, and can be contracted by a partner via skin-to-skin contact regardless of condom use.
- Pubic lice, also known as crabs, are Pthirus pubis that infect the genitals. These lice are most common among teens and are typically spread during sexual, skin-to-skin contact. Pubic lice can live among pubic hair and can spread whether a condom 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 genitals from skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual, and they are considered an STI.
Get tested to get peace of mind today.