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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes. Condoms have been proven to provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In fact, condoms are the only contraceptive method that also provides STI protection. Condoms provide different levels of risk reduction for different STIs because infections are spread differently — some are spread by contact with bodily fluids while others are spread by skin to skin contact.
In general, research shows that condoms are most effective in preventing those STIs that are spread by bodily fluids, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. Condoms also can reduce the risk of contracting diseases spread by skin-to-skin contact, such as herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV). However, condoms only can protect against these diseases if the sores are in areas covered by the condom.
There are a range of tests performed by both regulatory agencies and the condom manufacturers. These include electronic testing, the water leak test, the air burst test and the strength test.
Check that the use-by date has not expired, that they carry a standards approval mark (either FDA, ISO, CE or the British Standard Kite Mark), and that they have been properly stored.
As with most barrier methods, it can take a bit of practice to use this method correctly. As long as you are clear on how to use them, you should get the hang of it.
Compared to modern hormonal methods, condoms are less reliable and effective in protecting against pregnancy but they are the only method that will protect against STIs, including HIV/AIDS.
When used as directed (i.e. the condom doesn't split or burst), they can be very effective in preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If a condom breaks and no other form of contraception such as the contraceptive pill is used, then there is a risk that a woman may become pregnant, so you should consider using emergency contraception. There is also a risk of contracting a STI.
Condoms are made in different lengths and widths, and different manufacturers produce varying sizes. There is no standard length for condoms, though those made from natural rubber will in addition always stretch if necessary to fit the length of the man's erect penis. The width of a condom can also vary. Some condoms have a slightly smaller width to give a ''closer'' fit, whereas others will be slightly larger.
If you are going to use a condom under water it is important that you put the condom on before you get into the water. Also, if the water contains chemicals such as chlorine, or additives such as soap, bath oil or bubble bath then this may affect the latex.
Using two condoms at the same time-either two male condoms or a male and female condom- is not a good idea as the friction may result in one or both of the condoms tearing. If you want to take extra precautions against pregnancy when having sex, and are concerned about the possibility of a condom breaking it is better to use another form of contraception. For example, using a contraceptive pill, patch, vaginal ring or IUS as well as a condom will ensure that you both have double protection against pregnancy as well as protection against STIs.
It will depend on which country you are in, but in most countries, you can buy condoms from chemists and supermarkets. You can also get them from family planning clinics and some doctors.
Some people find that condoms interfere with spontaneity and sensation, but they can be fun to use once you have got used to how they need to be put on.