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Condoms

Condoms are a hormone-free method of contraception, so you don’t have to worry about any hormone-related side effects. There are two types of condoms: male condoms, which are worn on the penis, and female condoms, which are worn inside the vagina. If you decide that condoms are the best method of contraception for you and your partner, make sure you talk about which type you are going to use.

Condoms are made from very thin latex (rubber) or polyurethane, and when used correctly they help to protect against both pregnancy and many sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

MYTH: It’s safer if you use two condoms
TRUTH: No it isn’t. Using two condoms at once is a really bad idea, whether it’s two male condoms or a male and female condom. It increases the chances of them ripping, so only use one at a time.

Male Condom

What is it?

The male condom is a latex (rubber or polyurethrene) sheath placed over the male's erect penis before sex. You can pick up free condoms from your local family planning clinic or you can buy them at pharmacies and other places such as supermarkets, garages, bars and clubs. Condoms are available in a wide variety of colours, flavours, shapes, textures and sizes.

When used correctly, the MALE CONDOM is around 98% EFFECTIVE.

The Male Condom How does it work?

The condom is designed to be used only once and prevents sperm from entering the vagina when the male partner ejaculates by providing a barrier. Never try to use more than one condom at a time, as it increases the chances of them ripping.

The Male Condom How effective is it?

Condoms can slip off or split during sex, so be careful and make sure you follow the instructions correctly. Used properly, the latex condom is up to 98% effective at preventing pregnancy, however, application problems and breakages can occur.

Never use condoms with oil based products such as Vaseline, body oil or suntan oil, as these will damage the rubber.

What are the benefits?

  • Only need to be used when you have sex
  • Help protect against many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV
  • You don't need a prescription

The Male Condom Who may not be able to / may not want to use it?

Women/men who:

  • Have developed allergies to latex condoms or to the lubricants which may be used on some types of condom. Non-latex polyurethane condoms are available
  • Don't want to interrupt sex (the condom has to be placed on the penis after erection but before penetration)

The Male Condom Possible side-effects?

Not all women/men will experience side-effects.

Some people may be allergic to latex condoms. However, non-latex polyurethane condoms are available.

The Male Condom What if......?

The condom splits / tears / slips off?

The chance of getting pregnant can increase if the condom splits, tears or slips off during sex and you should seek advice immediately from your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about using emergency contraception.

 

Female Condom

What is it?

The female condom is made of a lubricated polyurethane or latex sheath that lines the vagina. The closed end has a flexible ring that you insert into the vagina with the open-end left on the outside. It is available free from family planning clinics or you can buy them at pharmacies or online. They are not as widely available as male condoms, but you should be able to search for suppliers online.

 

The Female Condom How does it work?

The female condom works by preventing semen from getting into the vagina.

The Female Condom How effective is it?

Like the male condom, every female condom should only be used once. If you use it correctly it is 95% effective. Some women may find it difficult to insert, so it is always worth practicing this before having sex.

Female condoms can split, so take care when you are inserting it.

What are the benefits?

  • Condoms only need to be used when you have sex
  • Help protect against many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV
  • You don't need a prescription
  • They can be put in at any time before sex

The Female Condom Who may not be able to / may not want to use it?

Women/men who:

  • Have developed allergies to latex condoms or to the lubricants which may be used on some types of condom. Non-latex polyurethane condoms are available
  • Are sensitive to the chemicals in latex condoms

The Female Condom Possible side-effects?

Not all women / men will experience side-effects.

  • There are no physical side-effects, but some people may find it difficult to place the female condom, and it can be pushed aside during sex.
  • Some people may be allergic to latex condoms. However, non-latex polyurethane condoms are available.

The Female Condom What if......?

The condom splits / tears / slips off?

The chance of getting pregnant can increase if the condom splits, tears or slips off during sex and you should use emergency contraception immediately. If you’re not sure which method is most suitable, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

 

Remember: Contact your doctor or nurse if you have any concerns or are worried / unsure about anything to do with your contraception.

Have you decided which might be the right contraception for you? If not check out the other choices, if you have, jump to Step3: How do I change?

© 2015 Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd. All rights reserved.

Job code: WOMN-1160817-0000

Date of preparation: September 2015

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