Is it possible to get HIV if you had sex using a condom?

Using condoms is the best way to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). But you can still be at risk of infection if:

  • it slips off

  • it splits or tears

If this happens to you, you should consider getting tested for HIV and other STIs.

If you think you might have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours, find out about getting PEP to help protect you against infection.

Using condoms the right way

Using condoms the right way will reduce the chances of them breaking or coming off:

  • always check the expiry date on the condom before using it

  • choose condoms that carry the BSI kite mark and the European CE mark

  • open the packet with your hands, not your teeth. Take care not to tear the condom when you’re touching it

  • put the condom on as soon as the penis is erect. Small amounts of sperm are released before ejaculation, so for condoms to work well they need to be put on before any vaginal, anal or oral contact

  • putting on the condom late, or removing the condom during sex, increases the risk of spreading an STI 

  • withdraw the penis while it’s still erect. Hold the condom on at the base to stop it from slipping off

Reviewed by Dr Paula Baraitser. Medical Director
Last updated at: 16 June 2023