What is the role of the condom IF a sexual network does not have a sexually transmitted infection (STI)? In heterosexual couples it is to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy; however, with a typical failure rate of 15 per 100 per year these couples would be better off finding something more effective (http://bit.ly/1cG5AxR).
Unfortunately, unless a couple is exclusively monogamous, it is a good idea to continue to use a condom just in case an STI is brought into the relationship. Once an infection enters a sexual network, its transmission depends on how infectious the organism is, the number & frequency of sexual acts, any concurrency (two plus partners at the same time) and the duration of the infection.
Since many infections do not have symptoms it is important that everyone who starts a new relationship is tested for the four infections recommended by the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) which are HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea.
Unfortunately all good things have a price and even non-penetrative acts such as oral sex can transmit infections. The risk of catching an infection depends upon the sexual act. SXT has developed a simple risk estimator http://bit.ly/17k5Td0 to help its clients know the facts.
Finally, SXT has developed a way to support individuals to let their partners know about infections (http://bit.ly/14dj4KQ). The new share function can be anonymous if the user wishes; although, SXT recommends that the clinic name and the patient number is added to the message to help the health advisors support the treatment of the whole network. “What goes around comes around” and SXT is keen to support all providers of sexual health services to break the chain of transmission.