rope with condoms hanging from it

Re-using condoms: a risky festivity

Valentines’ Day is focused on romantic love. Be sure you take care of your romantic counterpart by using condoms right.

Thank you so much for reaching out. This must be a difficult time for you.

I understand that you are concerned about your risk of having been infected when you re-used a condom after you had sex with someone whose HIV status you are unsure about, right?

Condoms can help prevent STDs if used the right way

It’s great that you used a condom, well done. Condoms can greatly reduce your risk of getting HIV and other STDs. However, using condoms can be tricky sometimes, and it’s good to know some of the basic rules so that you get the maximum protection. 

Even though they are made of a strong material, condoms should always be used just once, and then discarded. If you re-use them, they can become brittle and lose their ability to protect you.

Also, it can be difficult to put a used condom on the penis. It will be much easier to put it on correctly if you use a new one every time you have sex. If the condom doesn’t sit tightly on the penis, which might be the case if you are re-using, you might have issues with leakages and spillage.

After you take the condom out of the wrapper, you should test that it unrolls the ‘right’ and easy way. That, again, will help with a good fit and get the condom to be able to work its protective magic.
Practise a few times, so you are well-prepared the next time you have sex.

HIV risk and testing

It’s very difficult to answer your question about your risk.

Whether or not you ejaculated doesn’t really matter in this case. It’s your sex partner’s vaginal fluids that might have put you at risk when you put on the used condom inside out. However, that fact that there were several hours between the two incidents could mean that your risk is lower, because the virus may have indeed not survived.

But many other factors, like her viral load if she was infected, are at play here, so the best thing to do is to get tested six weeks and three months after this happened. You need to wait a while so that, if you are infected, there are enough antibodies in your blood to be detected by the test.

I know that this might be a lot to take in for you right now and that you are scared. Talk to someone you trust about this, and share your fears. Ask them to come with you when you get tested; that will help make it less scary.

We wish you all the best, and please let us know how things are going for you.

For more information on contraception and condoms, check our facts on using condoms. Also, you can read up on HIV here.

Do you have questions about STDs and condoms? Head to our discussion board and ask our moderators anything!

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Recent Comments (10)

  1. How long do HIV symptoms…
    How long do HIV symptoms start appearing on the body

    1. Hello Adam, first, HIV is…

      Hello Adam, first, HIV is the virus that causes immune deficiency where the body is unable to fight infections. The only way to know if one has HIV is to get a HIV test done, which means HIV has no signs. When ones immune has been destroyed by HIV it becomes easier for them to get various infections and diseases. However, today there are many things including treatment to stop this from happening. The first important step is taking an HIV test to determine ones status. Have a look at the following article for more information;-

  2. Which are the fast symtoms…
    Which are the fast symtoms of HIV

    1. Hi Pithon, the best way to…

      Hi Pithon, the best way to get to know if you are infected or not is to get an HIV test done at a health centre, and this is because the first signs of an HIV infection can appear like a common cold or flu, which are common and may not stand out when they appear as signs  of an HIV infection. If you feel you have been in a risky situation that may have exposed you to the risk of getting infected, do visit a medical centre for a test. Check out the following article for more information on HIV infection;-

  3. I deed kissed someone who…
    I deed kissed someone who was infected but I never knew I’M i at risk?

  4. is it true that ARVS can…
    is it true that ARVS can cure someone who has hiv within 72hrs.and if is true what happenx when somebody who has leaved with hiv for 10yrs not 2 be cure…

    1. Hi Joshua, first, there is…

      Hi Joshua, first, there is no cure for HIV. What you are talking about is know as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP which is ARV drugs is taken by a person who has been exposed to HIV to prevent the transmission of HIV. One has to take the drugs within the first 72 hours after being exposed for instance having sex with a person who is HIV positive. This then means the drugs cannot help prevent the transmission if taken after the first 72 hours and certainly not a person who has had the infection for ten years. Have a look at the following article for more information;-

  5. Thank you for the…

    Thank you for the clarification George. You are correct! PrEP is daily medicine that can reduce this risk. With PrEP, if you do get exposed to HIV, the medicine can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. PEP is for people who have possibly been exposed to HIV.

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