What Should I Do if the Condom Breaks?

Accidents happen: In moments of passion, a condom worn incorrectly (or past its expiration date) can break or slip off, putting you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.


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Accidents happen: In moments of passion, a condom worn incorrectly (or past its expiration date) can break or slip off, putting you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV and—if you're a woman—pregnancy.

Morning-after HIV prevention
After such an accident, you and your partner should get tested for STDs, including HIV, as soon as possible. If you have been exposed to the HIV virus, ask for postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), a morning-after treatment for HIV that may prevent infection. The treatment is a monthlong course of HIV (antiretroviral) medications that are most effective if you start them right away—but may still work up to 72 hours after exposure. Side effects can include extreme nausea and fatigue.

To find PEP, call a doctor, a health clinic, an AIDS service organization, or a health department, or visit your local emergency room.


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Nick Burns
Last Updated: October 16, 2008

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