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Frequently Asked Questions

Condom

A male condom is a thin sheath of latex rubber made to fit on a man’s erect penis to prevent the passage of sperm cells by forming a barrier that prevents pregnancy.

Effectiveness depends on the user: Risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection (STI) is greatest when condoms are not used with every act of sex.

Very few pregnancies or infections occur due to incorrect use, slips, or breaks. For protection against pregnancy, as commonly used, about 15 pregnancies per 100 women whose partners use male condoms over the first year. This means that 85 of every 100 women whose partners use male condoms will not become pregnant.

When used correctly with every act of sex, about two pregnancies per 100 women whose partners use male condoms over the first year. There is no delay in the return of fertility after use of condoms is stopped.

Male condoms significantly reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV when used correctly with every act of sex.

When used consistently and correctly, condom use prevents 80 percent to 95 percent of HIV transmission that would have occurred without condoms.

Condoms reduce the risk of becoming infected with many STIs when used consistently and correctly and protect best against STIs spread by discharge, such as HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Condoms also protect against STI spread by skin-to-skin contact, such as herpes and human papillomavirus.

No. Allergy to latex is not common in the general population and reports of mild to severe allergic reactions are very rare65. But there are non-latex condoms available in the market. Plastic condoms and condoms made out of animal skins have not been studied thoroughly and may not be commercially available. 

Yes. For mutual protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

While condom breakage is not very common with high-quality condoms, a male condom can break during intercourse for many reasons, including how it was used, used past its expiration date, damaged when removed from the package, used more than once, or improperly manufactured or stored.

There is a small chance that a condom can become lodged inside a woman’s vagina, for example, if the condom fits too loosely or if a man withdraws his penis without holding the base of the condom. If the condom is lodged in the vagina, it cannot travel to other parts of the body. If the condom cannot be removed manually, the woman should go to her gynecologist or to a hospital’s emergency room for help and to prevent bacteria build-up that can lead to an infection.

To reduce the chances of breaking, the condom should be stored in a cool and dry environment. Users should also avoid tearing or damaging the condom while removing it from the package, squeeze the tip to press air out of the reservoir, unroll the condom over the erect penis, and apply a lubricant or spermicide that is not oil-based as the oil will damage latex condoms.

Similar to male condoms, female condoms cannot permanently lodge inside a women’s body.

Some men may, at times, experience a loss of erection while applying or using condoms. Men may be more likely to experience condom-associated erection loss if they lack confidence to use condoms correctly or experience problems with the way a condom fits or feels.67 If a man finds he is having difficulty keeping an erection while wearing a condom, more lubrication may help increase sensation for the man, or he may wish to try a different brand of condom. Men who suffer from premature ejaculation may find that using condoms helps them with this problem.

Condoms have no known side effects.

Some of the health benefits of condoms are it helps protect against the risks of pregnancy and risks of STs, including HIV.

Condoms may help protect against conditions caused by STIs such as:

  • Recurring pelvic inflammatory disease and chronic pelvic pain
  • Cervical cancer
  • Infertility (male and female)

Source: “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Modern Family Planning Methods: Stop Rumors, Myths And Misconceptions with Correct Answers to Everyday Questions About Modern FP Method” by the Philippine DOH, USAID and JHPIEGO

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