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FAQ: Should a woman douche after a condom breaks?

for Veterans and the Public

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should a woman douche after a condom breaks?

Douching after sexual exposure has not been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection. Douching can reduce the amount of semen left in the vagina after sex, but also may increase the risk of infections (such as bacterial vaginosis) that may in turn increase the risk of becoming infected with HIV.

Also, no one knows whether douching after a condom breaks might send the virus into areas where it might enter the body more easily, and some types of douche might also cause irritation that could make it easier for the virus to enter. This is an area where we just don't know for sure.

If a condom breaks during sex, contact a medical provider or go to an emergency room as soon as possible. There are medications that can help prevent HIV transmission if taken soon after exposure. (See frequently asked questions about postexposure prophylaxis [PEP])