Ladies and Gentlemen: Use Your Condom Sense
Condoms—men and women of all ages and from all walks of life are using them for birth control and/or protection from sexually transmitted infections. A male condom (also known as a rubber) is a sheath worn over the penis. It is made of latex, animal tissue, or polyurethane. A condom is used to catch semen before, during, and after a man ejaculates. When used during vaginal sex, it helps protect against pregnancy. When used during vaginal, anal, and oral sex, it also helps protect against certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Condoms and Pregnancy PreventionDuring sexual intercourse, a condom prevents sperm from entering the vagina. According to Planned Parenthood, about 15 out of 100 women will become pregnant during the first year of typical condom use, meaning inconsistent and at times incorrect condom use. Condoms have a 98% efficacy. The term efficacy refers to perfect condom use that is consistent and always correct, while effectiveness refers to typical use. Contraceptive foams, creams, jellies, films, and suppositories can also be used to provide additional protection against pregnancy, since they can kill sperm if the condom breaks. Some condoms are coated with a spermicide.
Latex Condoms and the Prevention of STDsWhen used consistently and correctly, a latex condom helps protect against many STDs because it blocks the exchange of body fluids that might carry infection.When used consistently and correctly, condoms have been proven as an effective barrier against the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In addition HIV infection, latex condoms help protect against the following STDs:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)—generally caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia
- Vaginitis resulting from infections such as trichomoniasis
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause genital warts, abnormal pap smears, and cervical cancer
- Hepatitis B virus
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV) that can cause genital herpes