How to Use a Condom
Condoms go by many different names. Your health teacher calls them "prophylactics." Your friends may say "rubbers."
No matter what you call them, condoms have the same purpose. They prevent STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and they prevent pregnancy. That's why you need to wear one every single time you have sex.
Condoms are a good birth control option because they're cheap, easy to get, and you don't have to plan ahead to use them. That's probably why more teens use condoms than any other type of birth control.
Not sure how to use a condom, or exactly how it will protect you? Read through these FAQs.
Are condoms effective at preventing STDs?
Wearing a condom doesn't guarantee that you won't catch an STD. Not having sex is the only way to be 100% sure you won't get a disease.
But if you wear a condom every time you have sex, you will greatly reduce your risk of getting an STD.
Condoms are very effective at preventing STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). These are serious diseases, so you need to protect yourself!
Are condoms good at preventing pregnancy?
Yes, condoms are very good at preventing pregnancy. They're effective about 85% of the time. That means for every 100 people who have sex using just a condom, 15 will have an accidental pregnancy. The only way to prevent a pregnancy 100% of the time is to not have sex.
What kind of condom is best for preventing STDs?
There are many different types of condoms. Look at the condom display at your local drugstore. You'll see latex condoms, lambskin condoms, and polyurethane condoms. There are ribbed condoms, colored condoms, and even flavored condoms.
It doesn't really matter which texture or color condom you choose. Pick the one you like best.
However, the type of material used to make the condom is important. A condom made from latex is your best bet for preventing STDs. Lambskin and other animal skin condoms don't protect as well.
If you're allergic to latex, you can use a condom made from polyurethane. It's also good at preventing STDs.
Doctors used to think that condoms coated with a sperm-killing chemical (spermicide) protected better against STDs. Now they think it may not help against STDs. It may actually make it a little easier to get HIV. You're better off using a condom that does not contain a spermicide.
Where can I buy condoms?
You can buy condoms at your local drugstore or supermarket. You don't need to be a certain age to buy condoms.