Condoms are the most effective way to safeguard your sexual health as they provide a very thin barrier that stops sperm, bacteria and viruses getting from one person and into another.
Do condoms work?
Used correctly they have a very good success rate in preventing unwanted pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. People who claim HIV can get through condoms are wrong.
Types of condom
The male condom is worn by a man over his erect penis, while the Femidom (female condom) is a pouch with two rings inside it that a woman inserts into her vagina before sex.
There are different condoms to choose from too.
How effective are condoms?
When used correctly each time you have sex, condoms are the best protection against STIs and HIV when having vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Water-based or silicone-based lube (such as KY Jelly) can make condoms even more effective as it helps to prevent friction which can lead to tears.
Oil-based lube such as Vaseline shouldn’t be used as it can cause a condom to break.
The important thing is to use condoms correctly and consistently.
If over one year men would use condoms properly and consistently with their female partners, 98% of these women would avoid getting pregnant.
Female condoms have a slightly lower level of effectiveness - 95% if used correctly.
While other contraceptives such as the Pill protect against unwanted pregnancies, they offer no protection against STIs, unlike the condom.
Using a male or a female condom together with other methods of contraception offers extra protection against both pregnancy and infections.
The benefits of condoms
Compared to other products that protect against pregnancy and STIs, condoms are:
- cheap (or free at sexual health clinics)
- easy to find
- only used while sex is happening
- free of side effects
- easily used by anyone and without the help of a health worker.
Problems with condoms?
Of course condoms can have their problems, just like anything else, but there are ways you can manage your condom crises.
Oral sex and HIV ››