Condoms, derived from materials like Latex, Polyisoprene and Polyurethane, serve as a standard contraception tool, preventing both unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of sexual diseases, like HIV.
Condoms made from latex can cause discomfort for some individuals, and as such, condoms made from other materials are recommended.
A crucial focus is their role in preventing the spread of HIV, a viral infection compromising the immune system.
In this article, we discuss the transmission of HIV, its progression to AIDS, how it is a threat, types of condoms, and finally, how efficient condoms are as a barrier to HIV during sexual intercourse.
1. HIV Transmission
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a viral infection that targets immune system cells, compromising the body’s ability to defend against infections and diseases, thereby increasing an individual’s susceptibility to various health issues.
HIV can spread throughout the body with the help of body fluids like blood, sperm, vaginal fluids, and even breast milk. Condoms help prevent the exchange of fluids, which reduces the transmission of HIV during sexual intercourse.
Condoms are an efficient way to prevent the spread of HIV, and it is a deadly virus that leads to AIDS.
People who use condoms consistently are less prone to HIV transmission by at least 90% – 95%. Condoms prevent skin-to-skin contact, and that is the main reason for the reduction of HIV transmission.
2. What is the Difference Between HIV and AIDS?
HIV is a virus that mainly targets the immune system and weakens it, but AIDS is a disease, and it is an advanced version of HIV infection, and yes, it is hazardous compared to HIV.
The complete form of HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and AIDS is the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
It is essential to remember that not every person who is affected by HIV will develop AIDS. HIV-positive people who receive early medical attention and treatment can live a healthy life and are not prone to develop AIDS. However, if HIV is not treated, then there is a high chance of developing AIDS.
3. Is HIV a Threat?
HIV is a dangerous infection and disease to global health and also to the people who are infected with the virus.
It is considered a threat because this infection mainly affects the immune system of a person’s body, and if it is not handled with care, then this infection might turn into AIDS disease, and this cannot even be cured that easily!
We also saw how HIV is transmitted, and we know that it is through unprotected sexual intercourse and childbearing.
Right now, there is no HIV vaccine available for this infection. Still, medical researchers have found antiretroviral therapy (ART) can reduce the virus and help HIV-infected patients to a good, healthy life.
HIV tests and therapies are not readily available in underdeveloped nations with fewer resources. This lack of access can result in untreated HIV-infected individuals, contributing to the spread of the virus through body fluids.
4. Types of Condoms
Understanding the nuances of various types of condoms is essential in selecting them. In this section, we will delve into the features and considerations of both male and female (internal) condoms, offering a practical approach for a more informed approach to sexual health.
4.1. Male condoms:
Male condoms are worn over the penis while involved in sexual intercourse and sexual activity by male individuals.
As stated by the (CDC), the Typical-use failure rate for male condoms is calculated at around 14 percent, which implies that 14 women would become pregnant.
(WHO) states that when male condoms are used in the right way, then they can avoid the spread of HIV as these condoms cover the sex organ.
4.1.1. Risk factors of male condoms:
It is essential to use condoms correctly, and it means using them correctly and using a fresh condom every time before sexual intercourse.
Male condoms can break during sexual intercourse, and hence, it lowers their effectiveness, so it is advisable to use extra lubricant to avoid damage and slippage during sexual activity. Water-based lubricants are recommended for latex condoms, as oil-based lubricants can weaken latex and can lead to breakage.
Male condoms should be kept in a dry place and also away from high-heat areas. They should be checked for signs of damage before use.
Always adhere to protocols before using male condoms for sexual intercourse
4.2. Internal Condom or Female condoms:
Internal condoms are used by females to prevent transmission of HIV and also to avoid getting pregnant. They are made from Nitrile.
As reported by (CDC), the typical use failure rate for internal condoms is 21%, which means that 21 females become pregnant.
But if you use them correctly, the failure rate decreases to 5%. Perfect use involves using condoms also and adequately checking the expiry date.
(WHO) claims that if internal condoms are used in the right way, then you can prevent the transmission of HIV.
They also help in preventing other infections that females are prone to get affected by, so it is the best way to avoid further sexual infections like herpes!
4.2.1. RISK factors of internal condoms:
It is essential to use an internal condom every time, and you should place it correctly and always use a fresh condom before sexual intercourse.
These condoms irritate the female sex organs, and even if you’re not in pain, please always use lubricant gel as they can enhance pleasure and satisfaction during sexual activity.
5. Risk of HIV Transmission with Condom Use
Condoms are not 100 percent successful at avoiding pregnancy and HIV transmission because during sexual activity, condoms can tear and slide off, and this will increase the possibility of getting exposed to deadly diseases like HIV and AIDS. Consistent and significant use reduces this risk.
Even if you are not affected by HIV, that doesn’t mean that you should not use condoms or something like that because condoms prevent you from getting affected by these kinds of diseases!
If both partners are affected by HIV, it is still advisable to use condoms to prevent much more severity of your sexually transmitted disease.
Using condoms daily is recommended. Also, use a single fresh condom for every sexual intercourse and never take it off during sexual activity.
6. To Summarize
Condoms are crucial in preventing the transmission of HIV during intercourse, serving as a barrier against bodily fluids. Consistent condom use significantly reduces the risk of HIV transmission by at least 80%, emphasizing their role in promoting safe sexual practices.
Understanding the difference between HIV and AIDS is essential, with early care and medical attention improving the quality of life of those with HIV. Given the global threat of HIV, awareness about condom usage is essential, particularly in underdeveloped nations with limited resources.
While not completely foolproof, condoms remain a vital tool for preventing pregnancy and HIV transmission, necessitating ongoing efforts to educate communities, especially in rural areas, about their significance for birth control and overall well-being.