Did you know that Valentine’s Day falls on national Condom Day this year? While spreading the love this season, SNAHC would like to remind everyone that condoms are great for preventing pregnancies and reducing the spread of STI’s and HIV. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are 98% effective against pregnancy and 99% effective against HIV. They are also the only form of contraception that protects the user against STI’s.
Let’s talk about condom usage! Before you open your condom package, get consent for the safe sexual act you will be doing, check the expiration date (if too old, use a new one), and check for holes or rips in the package. You should feel a small pillow of air in the package before opening. If there is none, the condom may have dried out. By following these safety steps, you can better protect yourself and your partner. Remember to always use a new condom each and every time!
What is an external condom?
The external condom is a great way to protect yourself and your partner during sexual intercourse.
The external condom is a thin covering that fits over an erect penis. Condoms can be made out of four kinds of material:
- Latex – a thin kind of rubber
- Polyurethane – a thin, soft plastic
- Polyisoprene – a synthetic latex that is thin and soft
- Animal membranes, such as lambskin
Why use the external condom?
During sex, sperm stay inside the condom. This keeps sperm from getting into the vagina. Without sperm meeting an egg after entering the vagina, there will be no pregnancy.
External condoms are also the only method of birth control that protect against HIV and STIs. These condoms keep most STI germs from passing from one person to the other. Without the use of an external condom, STI germs in the semen can get into the sex partner’s vagina, anus, or mouth, and STI germs in the partner’s vagina, anus, or mouth can get on the penis.
How effective are external condoms?
They are. . .
- 98% effective against pregnancy
- 99% effective against HIV, and also reduce the risk of many other STIs when used consistently and correctly every time
- Can be even more effective when you use in conjunction with other birth control methods! Two methods of birth control are better than one. Try these combinations:
- A condom + the IUD
- A condom + the Depo Provera shot
- A condom + the birth control pill
- A condom + spermicides