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What should I do if the condom breaks?

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Updated May 20, 2014

Rubber condom filled with water, leaking from puncture hole
Bill Steele/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Question: What should I do if the condom breaks?
Answer:
Condom breaks do occur, and when they do it can cause a lot of anxiety. What should you do if the condom breaks? Follow these recommendations.
  • Remain calm...take a breath and relax. That will make it easier for you to make ration decisions.

  • If the condom breaks while you're having sex and before ejaculation, immediately stop, pull out and apply a new condom.

  • If ejaculation has occurred, pull out carefully.

  • Shower or wash your genital area thouroughly with soap and warm water.

  • Have a discussion with your partner. Talk about how careful each of you have been in the past. Talk about possible HIV risk factors such as a history of IV drug use, unsafe sex practices, having sex with prostitutes, etc.

  • Even if both you and your partner believe you have been safe in the past, get tested for HIV. Repeat that test at 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months to allow time for the body to produce HIV antibodies if infection has occured.

  • Be alert for possible signs of sexually transmitted diseases or HIV such as a rash, swollen glands, fever, flu-like symptoms, pain or discharge from the penis or vagina. If you have any of these signs, see your doctor.

  • Important Point! - Never douche after a condom breaks...this can force infectious microbes deeper in the vagina and also causes membrane irritation, increasing the risk of disease transmission.

  • Important Point! - Never use contraceptive foams such as nonoxynol-9. This can irritate mucous membranes increasing the risk of infection.

To prevent the liklihood of a condom breaking:

  • Never wear two condoms at once. The friction can weaken the condom.

  • Never use oil based lubricants such as vaseline. Again this can weaken the condom.

  • Use lots of water based lubricant to decrease friction that may weaken the condom.

  • Make certain you are using proper sized condoms. There are larger and smaller sizes available for those who need them.

  • Never reuse a condom.
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