Your Trusted Source for Information on Health
1) Barrier Methods
The Male Condom
Male Birth Control Pill
The Female Condom
2) Hormonal Methods
Birth Control Pills
Chewable Birth Control Pill
3) IUDs (Intrauterine Devices)
4) Emergency Contraception
New Emergency Contraceptive Ella®
A condom is made of latex, plastic, or animal tissue and is a sheath that fits over the penis. Many words are used to describe a condom, including a rubber or a safe. A condom works by preventing sperm from ejaculate from entering a woman's vagina. The male condom not only provides a method of birth control, but also protects against sexually transmitted diseases. When used properly, male condoms are considered 98% effective in preventing pregnancy. Often, condoms are used with contraceptive creams, foams or jellies. This allows for protection from pregnancy if the condom breaks during intercourse.
The usefulness of condoms for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, cannot be overstated. Condoms offer the best possible protection, aside from abstinence, from STDs by blocking any exchange of body fluids that may carry infection. Condoms come in a variety of different sizes, colors and types. They can be rippled, studded, dry or lubricated. Lubricated condoms often cost slightly more than non-lubricated condoms. It is important to handle condoms gently and to ensure that they are stored properly. An expiration date can be found on the wrapper of all condoms and these dates should be strictly adhered to, as condoms do deteriorate over time.
Using a lubricant with condoms (even those that are pre lubricated) can help to prevent tearing and ripping of the condom. As well, lubricants can enhance sensitivity. It is essential to use the correct lubricants with different types of condoms. Only use water based lubricants with latex condoms, as oil based lubricants, such as many creams and petroleum jelly, will damage the latex.
Visit the Reproductive Health Online website, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University for more information about reproductive health and birth control methods.
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