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What is a condom

Condoms are made from very thin latex (rubber), or plastic (polyisoprene or polyurethane).

They are 98% effective if used correctly and used every time you have sex.

  • How does a condom work?

    Condoms are a barrier method of contraception. They stop semen from making contact with a sexual partner; thus making a physical barrier between them.

    Condoms can protect against some STIs, if used correctly during vaginal, anal and oral sex, as well as act as a contraceptive.

    You can access a leaflet for more information about condoms here.

  • Are there any advantages to condoms?
    • You only need to use them when you have sex
    • They help to protect both partners from sexually transmitted infections
    • There are no serious side-effects to using condoms
    • They come in a variety of shapes and sizes so should feel comfortable
    • They are easily available
  • Are there any disadvantages?
    • They can slip off or split
    • Some people are sensitive to latex – but this is rare
    • The penis has to be pulled out after ejaculation, and before the penis goes soft, holding the condom firmly in pla
  • Can anything make condoms less effective?
    • If the penis touches a partner’s genitals before the condom is put on
    • The condom comes off or splits
    • The condom gets damaged (sharp fingernails, jewellery etc)
    • Oil-based lubricants can damage latex/polyisoprene condoms
    • Creams or medications can damage latex/polyisoprene condoms e.g. thrush cream or pessaries
  • Where can I get condoms?
    • Condoms are free at sexual health services, including at Unity sexual health.
    • C.Card:  If you are under 25 you can get a C card. Click here for more information.
    • You can buy condoms – from supermarkets, pharmacies, other shops, online, or vending machines.

More information including how to use condoms can be found here.


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