Help! The Condom Broke!
Practical Advice for both Men and Women in an Emergency
Condom breaks do not happen often. In fact, it most commonly only happens when couples do not follow the recommendations on proper condom use. At the end of this article is a list of steps you can take to minimize the risk of condom breakage. But what if the condom does break?
First of all do not panic. Take a deep breath and calm down. This way, you will be able to think the situation through and make sensible decisions.
Important tip for ladies: DO NOT douche immediately following a condom break. This can actually drive sperm and bacteria deeper into your vagina.
There are really just 3 things you need to think about:
Presumably since you were using a condom in the first place, there was no intention for pregnancy. Women are at risk of pregnancy even if the condom breaks before ejaculation.
The simplest thing is to see a Doctor and get morning after pills. These are most effective if taken within 48 hours.
If you can, have a calm discussion with your partner about his or her risk of HIV. This includes a history of intravenous drug use, multiple sexual partners, visits to prostitutes or men who have ever had sex with another man.
Remember that a recent negative test for HIV does not guarantee that your partner does not have HIV as he or she might still be in the window period.
If the risk of HIV is not high, both of you should go for HIV testing at 1 month and again at 3 months after the event. Keep each other informed about your HIV test results if possible.
If the risk of HIV is high which means:
1. Your partner uses intravenous drugs
2. Your partner has multiple casual sexual partners
3. Your partner is a sex worker
4. Your partner visits sex workers
5. Your partner is a man who has had sex with another man
6. Your partner is known to have HIV
In the above situations, or if you are unable to determine the risk level, see your Doctor immediately for a discussion on HIV PEP. Women are at a higher risk than men to catch HIV especially if the condom broke after ejaculation.
STDs are very contagious and the likelihood of either party catching an STD after the condom broke is high. Even if your partner tells you he or she is completely symptom free it does not mean you are not at risk of STDs. This is because men and women can both carry STDs and show no symptoms.
Both of you should see your Doctor and be screened for STDs. The following STDs should be tested for:
2. Hepatitis B
Other STDs such as NSU, Hepatitis C, Herpes and HPV can also be screened for. Speak with your Doctor if you also need to test for these.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to prevent Condom Breakage:
- DO use water based lubricants such as KY jelly.
- DO use proper sized condoms.
- DO hold onto the condom when withdrawing.
- DO store condoms in a cool dry place.
- DO NOT reuse a condom.
- DO NOT open the condom package with your teeth, keys or any sharp object.
- DO NOT unroll the condom before putting it on.
- DO NOT wear 2 condoms at once. Friction can cause breakage.
- DO NOT use oil based lubricants such as Vaseline. This can weaken the latex.
- DO NOT use expired condoms.
About Dr. Tan
Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.