Everyone knows about such contraceptive method as condoms. However, the question about a condom’s effectiveness is still relevant. It is equally important to know whether there is a risk of getting pregnant and infected with STD using a condom.
A condom is a sheath-shaped device which serves as a barrier for the sperm. That is why this contraceptive method is called barrier contraception. Condoms are produced from latex, although other materials can also be used. There are condoms from synthetic materials but they are not very effective. Condoms come in different sizes and textures (to enhance sensations), with lubricants and flavors (for oral sex).
The reliability of condoms depends on their use. Experience shows that very often the partners make mistakes and that significantly reduces protection against pregnancy and infections.
- First, very carefully open the package avoiding tearing or nicking the condom;
- Unroll the condom right after an intercourse;
- Put on the condom only after the penis is erect;
- Pull back the foreskin, put the condom on the head of the penis pinching the tip of the condom;
- Holding the condom on the penis head, unroll it downward along the penis shaft;
- Put off the condom right after ejaculation.
Following these tips, you will avoid unpleasant consequences because of your own neglect.
Protection function of condoms highly depends on the storage conditions. The storage life of condoms is several years and expiration date is always printed on the package. Condoms are stored in a cool place because high temperatures have a negative effect on condoms’ permeability. You should also avoid the contact of the condom with oils as the oils damage the latex and reduce condoms’ effectiveness in preventing pregnancy and STD.
If you wonder, whether you can get pregnant using a condom, unfortunately, yes. Statistically, a condom prevents pregnancy in 80-88% of all cases. The figures seem to be impressive but actually a condom is second in effectiveness to other methods of contraception such as oral pills or uterine devices.
Let us explain the reasons for such a low level of protection. First of all, the main reason is the products of bad quality which attract the customers with their low prices. Second, improper use of condoms and that leads to spontaneous pregnancy.
The most common mistakes are:
- Putting on another condom during an intercourse because the first condom was put on incorrectly;
- Putting on the condom during sex or shortly before its end;
- Not everyone understands that you need to change the condom if you change the type of sex;
- Improper use leads to slipping the condom off and the partners do not always notice it.
If you use the condom incorrectly, it can tear. Clearly, the risk of getting pregnant is much higher if the condom tears but you can prevent pregnancy by using oral pills as emergency contraception. So it is desirable to have these pills in case such situations happen.
Despite disadvantages, in some situations it is reasonable to use only condoms:
- Unreliable sex partner (condoms provide good protection against sexually transmitted diseases);
- When you do not have sex very often (in this case, other methods of contraception do more harm than good);
- Breaks in using oral pills (you do not have another choice as to use condoms);
- Contraindications to oral pills and uterine devices;
- Allergy to the sperm (apart from unpleasant consequences for a girl, sex without a condom can lead to infertility because female body got used to fighting the allergens and it will kill the sperm cells as well).
Protection against sexually transmitted diseases
Reliability of condoms in their protection against STD worries many people even more than spontaneous pregnancy. At the moment, condoms are the most effective method of contraception preventing sexually transmitted infections. However, condoms can not prevent the spread of all the disease.
Condoms prevent the transmission of the following STDs:
- Hepatitis B and C;
- Gonorrhea and chlamydial infections;
In the last years, when the spread of AIDS is threatening, the question, whether one can get HIV using a condom becomes even more acute.
Unfortunately, there is no an absolute answer to the question but the use of condoms significantly reduces the risk of infection. The same is true for hepatitis.
There is a theory that the HIV and hepatitis agents are so small that latex material is not able to stop them. However, no research has ever confirmed this theory. It is very important not to apply any oil on a condom as oils damage the latex. If you do it, the sperm will penetrate through the condom and there is no need to say about viruses.
Condoms do not protect against the following diseases:
- Genital herpes;
- Pediculosis pubis and scabies;
- Some tropical sexually transmitted infections (soft chancre, venereal lymphogranuloma).
The infection is spread even if a condom is used due to the localization of these pathologies. Condoms prevent only those diseases which are transmitted by biological fluids. But they are absolutely useless in diseases transmitted through direct contact.
In each of these infections, there is a rash on the genitals. So if you noticed any kind of rash in your partner, avoid having sex with him or her.