A condom is a thin barrier used during sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy or reduce the risk of passing a sexually transmitted infection (STI) to a partner. There are external condoms, also known as “male condoms” or “condoms” and there are internal condoms, also known as “female condoms”.
Condoms are the only birth control method that protect against both pregnancy and STIs. Both latex and synthetic condoms provide protection.
It is best recommended to have an adequate supply of condoms in case they are damaged or torn before use, put on incorrectly, or in case of repeated intercourse. Do not use a condom more than once and only use one condom at a time. Do not use an internal and external condom at the same time.
Do not use Vaseline or any oil based lubricants with latex condoms, as these products may weaken the condoms and lead to breakage. You may want to use contraceptive spermicide if additional lubrication is needed.
Store condoms in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Condoms should NOT be kept in a car or a wallet as heat can cause deterioration. Condoms in damaged packages or that show obvious signs of deterioration (examples include: brittleness, stickiness, or discoloration) should never be used.
Condoms should never be reused! You must use a new condom every time!
If the condom breaks:
If you do not use a condom or if the condom breaks, tears, leaks, or falls off/out:
- Contact MyAlly Health to speak with a provider as soon as you can.
- DO NOT DOUCHE.
- Emergency contraception, also known as “Plan B”, may be used to prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraception is available at MyAlly Health or your local pharmacy, and should be taken within 120 hours (5 days) after having intercourse, but works best if taken as soon as possible.
- Wash genitals with soap and water immediately after intercourse to reduce the risk of acquiring an STI.
- Then insert an applicator full of spermicide into the vagina as soon as possible.
87% typical use
98% effective when used perfectly
79% typical use
95% effective when used perfectly
There are many variables that can make the condom less effective such as breaking, and slipping off. It is best to use condoms with other forms of birth control.
Things you may like about condoms:
- No menstrual changes
- Protection against STIs and HIV
- Readily available over the counter
- Wide variety of options
- Easily transportable
- Can use with other contraceptive options
Things you may dislike about condoms:
- Allergic reactions if you are allergic to latex
- Some people can be sensitive to certain brands of lubricant. If the lubricant bugs you or your partner, try a different brand
- Some individuals complain about a decrease in sensitivity when using condoms
- Hard to remember to use if you’re intoxicated, but that might be when you need one most, so keep them on hand anyway
- Internal condoms are more expensive and require a prescription
You can get FREE external condoms at MyAlly Health! Just stop by MyAlly Health to pick up free supplies.
External condoms are known to be extremely affordable and easily accessible. Prices can vary depending on brand, color, shape, size, texture and appearance. They generally average between $0.20 – $5.00 per condom. Prices may change depending on the vendor and ease of access.
Internal condoms are generally more expensive and harder to get. Internal condoms are available for purchase “over-the-counter”, on the FC2 website for $1.99-$2.41 per condom (sold in 12 or 24 packs) without a prescription, or you can get a prescription to a local pharmacy. MyAlly Health may not have this method on hand, but we can write you a prescription!
*Disclaimer: Costs are an estimate.
Does it protect against STIs?
Yes! Condoms (with the exception of abstinence) are the only form of birth control that reduce the spread of STIs.
Although highly effective, condoms are NOT 100% effective in protecting against STIs, which is why it is recommended for you and any partners to get tested for STIs regularly.
Disclaimer: This website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have.