To order a copy of PROTECTION from sub Saharan African countries (PAL format), please please contact Fireworx Media in Johannesburg.

To order the DVD or access streaming of the film from other parts of the world, contact the Media Education Foundation (MEF) at The DVD is available in PAL format and NTSC formats and can also be accessed for streaming directly. General info about the film and gender-focused HIV prevention capacity building: Jill Lewis at

Condom Use

Why condoms?

The aim of using a condom is to ensure that there is no contact between the sexual fluids that come from a man’s penis and the sexual fluids, blood or ‘lining’ inside his partner’s body (vagina or anus).

Using a condom prevents transmission of sexually transmitted diseases/illnesses (STIs) – from man to woman and from woman to man or from man to man.

Using a condom prevents unwanted pregnancy and allows couples to plan when they have children.

If used correctly, a condom stops HIV passing from an infected person (who may not know he or she is infected) to an uninfected person. Condoms can also stop someone with HIV being re-infected with the virus.

Without a condom, STIs and HIV can pass from one body to another – man or woman.

During penetrative intercourse without a condom (in other words, where sexual fluids mix as a result of contact between genitals), a man’s body can pick up HIV from an infected partner – or a woman’s body can pick up HIV from an infected partner.

Condom use is always crucial because HIV and some other STIs have no symptoms – they are invisible.

Another advantage is that condoms delay ejaculation, increasing the length of penetrative sexual intimacy and pleasure.

Many people have already contracted HIV. Using condoms correctly can protect them from re-infection and from increasing their viral load. Condoms also keep their partners or spouses safe from infection during intercourse.

Condoms, used properly and with confidence (every time):

  • Can prevent (re-)infection from many STIs, including HIV.
  • Can protect fertility (some STIs, with few evident symptoms, can cause infertility in women and men).
  • Can enable you to plan pregnancy – or prevent it.
  • Can help you avoid anxiety and risk and let you choose health, safe pleasure and to care for your body (whatever sex you are) and for your partner’s body (whatever sex they are).

In today’s world, it’s worth making condoms a part of your sexual routine if you are sexually active.

Preparing to use a condom                 

Talk about condoms and ensure you are clear about their use. If at all possible, agree in advance that you will use one before going too far with a partner. If you can’t talk about condoms, it might be best to avoid sexual intercourse until you can.

Be familiar with condoms. It helps if women can look at condoms and handle them on their own; it helps if men can practise putting them on – in a shower, first thing in the morning, in bed alone – to become comfortable with putting them on. 

Know what they are like. Being uncomfortable with condoms can lead to nervousness or shyness – and that can lead to mistakes. 

Know where to buy them and what they cost. Find out where you can get them free.

What are they like? Are there different makes? Kinds? Colours and sizes of packets? How many in a packet? Feel confident about acquiring condoms, or this alone will sabotage your regular use of them.

It is crucial to have more than one condom with you.

Check the ‘use by’ date on the condoms and press the packet lightly to check the packing is intact. The condoms should not have been lying in the sun or kept for a long time in tight pockets under friction.

Now read about Using a condom correctly.

Using a condom correctly

You have now talked about condoms, become familiar with them, acquired them, have more than one with you and have made sure they are not past their use-by date. (For more information, see Preparing to use a condom.)

Condoms very rarely break if they are used properly.

Do not have any contact between the penis and vagina or anus without a condom. It is vital that no sexual fluids (of either partner’s body) make contact – including before and after penetration and including pre-ejaculation fluids/sexual juices.

Take great care when opening the packet that you do not tear or puncture it with teeth, nails, scissors etc.

Squeeze air out of the tip of the condom (this leaves room for semen without putting pressure on the condom, and prevents semen inside making the condom slip) and place the unrolled condom on the top/head of the erect (hardened) penis.

Unroll the condom onto the erect penis – all the way down to the base of the penis.

Condoms only unroll one way. If you start to put it on the wrong way, don’t turn the condom over and continue. Semen/sperm/any STI present is already on the side that touched the penis, so it will be pushed into the partner’s body. Throw that condom away and use a new one.

Lubrication is very important. Force may lead to bleeding, heightening the risk of HIV transmission. The condom-covered penis should slide easily in the partner’s body.

Keep a tube or sachet of water-based lubricant gel with your condoms (never use anything oil-based – oil makes the latex rot really fast). Or just use water or saliva if nothing else is available.

It is absolutely crucial to use a condom and lubrication every time for anal sex too. Unprotected anal sex is the highest-risk act for HIV transmission because there is a higher chance of bleeding. Lubrication and condom use are crucial for this act.

If you feel the condom might be slipping, check it with your hand. It is very important it does not slip off during sex, or the sexual fluids will meet.

If you feel the condom break (which it rarely does!), stop at once, remove the torn condom and put on another. Don’t make the risk greater by continuing without a condom.

After a man has ‘come’/ejaculated, the penis becomes softer and smaller very soon. It is very important that immediately after ejaculation, while the penis is still hard, he holds the end rim of the condom, holding it in place as he pulls his penis out of his partner’s body. There needs to be no contact at all between sexual fluids of partners at this stage. Women need to support men doing this.

Wrap the condom up in paper and, for respect and hygiene, throw it away safely where children cannot get hold of it – bury it, place it in a latrine (don’t flush it in a flushing toilet) or burn it.

Do not use condomes more than once. Always use a new condom for each occasion of genital contact or penetrative sex.

More important information about condoms

After you’ve read Preparing to use a condom and Using a condom correctly, there are some more important things to know.

If either of you has, or previously had other STIs, your body is more vulnerable to HIV. Always get treatment for STIs and test for HIV after taking risks.

If there is dryness during sex, slow down. Rubbing against a dry surface can cause the condom to break – but it can also hurt. If the woman’s vagina feels dryer and tighter as sex continues, stop, apply lubricant, then go on.

Nothing should be inserted into the vagina to cause dryness. Tightness and dryness can make the condom break – and break inside the woman’s body, where the tightness can cause bleeding. If a man is seeking a tight sensation, he needs to find a way to have achieve this with the penis outside (not inside) his partner’s body.

There is no reliable data on people who have only had oral sex (and never genital contact sex). Oral sex puts sexual partners at risk of HIV transmission if there is any bleeding on either partner’s genitals or mouth. Many AIDS organisations say unprotected oral sex is risky; many say it is probably not as high risk as penetrative sex. If you want to have oral sex and be 100% sure, do it safely: use a condom (on the man’s penis) or cut a condom (or use cling film or thin plastic) to cover a woman’s genital area.

Remember: the highest-risk activity for HIV and other STI transmission is penetrative intercourse without a condom.

The more knowledgeable and comfortable you are with condom use, the easier it is to make sure you use them and help your partner see the importance of using them.

If you are not going to, or feel you can’t, use condoms – or if your partner doesn’t feel he/she can use condoms – don’t have penetrative sex. Remember, there is no going back on HIV infection.

Create sexual intimacy and pleasure in other ways – or take time to talk the matter through better.

HIV can take up to three months to show up in your blood – but can be passed on right from infection. If you have ever had unprotected sex with any partner (or do so in the future) and haven’t tested for HIV, it is crucial that you now use a condom with any future partner, including your spouse.

If you contract HIV – it’s your life. But your parents, family, partner(s), your wife and your children will also live with the consequences.

Using condoms properly involves care, knowledge and confidence with any partner – whether a long-term partner, your wife – a casual encounter, or sex involving gifts or money.

Using condoms if you have HIV

Even if you have already contracted HIV, you can still get more of the virus into your body if you have further unprotected sex with an HIV-positive partner.

This can speed up your vulnerabilities through weakening your immune system faster – and moving you more rapidly towards taking the life-long ARVs or towards AIDS, if ARVs are unavailable.

Unprotected sex with different partners may put you at risk of contracting different strains of HIV. You can avoid this re-infection or further infection by using condoms.

If you are HIV-positive, condoms are your real friend. By using them confidently you can continue to have sexual relations safely, knowing you are protecting people you are intimate with, people you love, someone who might be the parent of your children (or someone else’s children).

On this website, you can read about Preparing to use a condom, Using a condom correctly and More important information.


Welcome to our site!

PROTECTION is a challenging and moving new film resource to provoke discussions among men about condoms as a ‘tool of life’ for avoiding HIV and managing a safe sexual life if HIV-positive.

The website tells you about the film, how to get hold of the DVD, and also provides important information and educational resources about HIV and condom use.



PROTECTION: A film about men and condoms in the time of HIV and AIDS; a resource to stir discussion about the significance of condoms in your ongoing HIV-prevention initiatives.