The majority of us think that condoms can help protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and their resulting diseases.
And while they greatly lower the risk of those infections, they don’t completely rule all STIs out. Here are some that you need to be worried about even if you, or your partner, straps a condom on.
Genital herpes is a viral STI that typically results in sores or lesions on the genitals, anus, or upper thighs, so even if the genitals are covered with a condom, there are other ways in which you can contract this disease. A case of either HSV-1 or HSV-2 can occur on parts of the genital region that is exposed during condom use, it can be spread from partner to partner.
Syphilis is still around — 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 pubic 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 public hair and can be spread whether or not a condom is used.
Molluscum contagiosum causes small red or pink raised bumps to form on the body. These firm bumps sometimes have a concave appearance and are painless. When they occur on the genitals from skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual it is considered an STI.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI; it comes in at least 100 different varieties. Some strains of HPV go unnoticed and seem to cause no symptoms at all, while others can cause genital warts and even 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. Since there is no male STD test for HPV and many cases show no symptoms, it’s easy for it to be passed to partners unknowingly.