A condom is a barrier device commonly used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy and spreading sexually transmitted diseases. It is put on a man's erect penis and physically blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner. Condoms are also used for collection of semen for use in infertility treatment. Because condoms are waterproof, elastic, and durable, they are also used for non-sexual purposes such as creating waterproof microphones and protecting rifle barrels from clogging. In the modern age, condoms are most often made from latex, but some are made from other materials such as polyurethane, polyisoprene, or lamb intestine.
A female condom is a polyurethane sheath with a flexible ring at either end. One end is closed and inserted into the vagina; the other end is open and the ring sits outside the opening of the vagina. The male condom, sometimes called a "rubber" or "prophylactic," is far more commonly used.
So, Condoms are:
- Worn on the penis
- Made of latex or plastic
- Prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection
- Can be used with another form of birth control for extra protection
- Can be used for vaginal, anal, or oral sex
- Safe, effective, and easy to get
- Cost about $1 each, but are sometimes available for free
Condoms protect both you and your partner from sexually transmitted infections. Condoms that are made of latex offer very good protection against HIV. Latex condoms also reduce the risk of other sexually transmitted infections, including:
- Chancroid - Chancroid is a type of bacteria that is transmitted through sexual contact. It causes sores on the genitals.
- Hepatitis B
- HPV - Human Papilloma Virus
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - (PID)
- Trichomoniasis - Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by a protozoan, a microscopic, one-cell animal called a trichomona. Trichomoniasis is often called "trich."
Condoms can also prevent urinary tract infections in men who wear them.
Condoms and Oral Sex
Sexually transmitted infections can be passed from one person to another during oral sex. The risk of passing infections is lower during oral sex than during vaginal or anal intercourse. People who want to further reduce their risk can use condoms during oral sex.