Condoms are a very popular method of contraception. If used correctly every time, they’re very effective at preventing pregnancy.

Condoms are the only contraceptive that protects you and your sexual partner from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. 

  • frequency: before sex

  • effectiveness: 82%

  • STI protection? protected

  • periods: won't change

What you need to know about condoms

Condoms are a barrier form of contraception. They prevent pregnancy by stopping the sperm from entering the vagina and therefore reaching the uterus and fallopian tubes. If the sperm cannot get to the fallopian tubes then they cannot fertilise an egg.

How do condoms work?

External condoms (male condoms) come in a mix of sizes and varieties and are worn on the penis. Internal condoms (female condoms) go inside the vagina. To be fully protected against pregnancy and STIs you need to apply the condom before there’s any genital contact.

How to use condoms

External condoms can be bought from pharmacies, shops and online stores. You can usually also get them for free from sexual health services.

Internal condoms are harder to find. You can get them for free from sexual health services or buy them from online stores.

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