I heard condoms DON’T protect against STDs. Is that true?

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Someone asked us:

Hello Planned Parenthood! I am so happy you guys have a tumblr! This made my day! Quick question! I’ve been told that condoms only prevent pregnancy, not STD’s or STI’s. This is a bit confusing to me because I thought condoms protected against that stuff too! Could could explain this to me? I would really appreciate it! I hope you guys are around forever! <3

Yo that is one dirty, untruthy rumor! As a matter of fact, latex and plastic condoms are the ONLY form of birth control that can also prevents STDs

While using condoms is the absolute best way to prevent STDs if you’re going to be sexually active, it’s not a 100% guarantee. That’s why we call using condoms “safer sex” instead of “safe sex.” Infections like herpes and HPV, which are spread by skin-to-skin contact, may live on areas condoms don’t provide a barrier against (your scrotum, thighs, or buttocks, for example). So it’s possible whoever gave you the bad info simply misunderstood this little condom side note. 

They also may have been talking about lambskin/animal skin condoms, which only provide pregnancy protection and DO NOT protect against STDs. Condoms that protect against both STDs and pregnancy are made from latex, or types of latex-free soft plastics like polyurethane, polyisoprene, and nitrile. However, lambskin and other animal membrane condoms aren’t very popular anymore. The vast majority of condoms out there today are made out of latex or plastic.

So don’t believe the “condoms don’t protect against STDs” hype — it ain’t true when it comes to latex and plastic condoms. If you’re having sex, condoms offer good protection against pregnancy, and great protection against STDs. So use ‘em! 

Also, thanks for the love. You made my day!

-Kendall at Planned Parenthood

STD vs. STI

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Someone asked us:

What is the difference between an STD and an STI?

STD and STI are two terms that often mean the same thing — but the “D” stands for “disease,” while the “I” stands for “infection.”. Medically, infections are only called diseases when they cause symptoms, and many STIs don’t have any symptoms. So that’s why you may hear people say STIs – it’s technically more accurate, and also reminds people that there are often no symptoms so it’s important to get tested.

But many people are more familiar with the terms “STD” and “sexually transmitted disease.” So it’s really common to hear people use these terms even when there are no signs of disease. And that’s why we tend to use STDs when we’re talking about them.

Learn more about STI/Ds.

- Alex at Planned Parenthood

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