- A condom is a thin, stretchy pouch, commonly made of latex, that’s worn over the penis during sex to prevent pregnancy.
- Condoms help protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs), including HIV.
- If used perfectly, condoms are 98% effective. But people aren’t perfect. So, in reality, condoms are 85% effective.1
- 85% effective
- Put it on before sex
- No prescription required
- Protects against STIs/STDs
- No hormones
- A condom catches sperm. It creates a barrier so sperm can’t reach an egg.
- A condom also prevents STIs/STDs, including HIV. By covering the penis, it limits contact with a partner’s bodily fluids. It also limits skin-to-skin contact, which is how many infections spread.
- You can get condoms at most pharmacies, drugstores, markets, and gas stations.
- You don’t need a prescription for condoms.
- There are no age restrictions on who can buy condoms.
- In the United States, the average cost of a condom is $2.
- Kaiser Permanente members may be able to get condoms at low or no cost.2
- Roll a condom on an erect penis before you have sex.
- Pinch the tip of the condom to leave space for sperm to collect, and roll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis.
- After sex, pull the penis out of the partner while holding onto the base of the condom so sperm doesn’t spill out.
- Remove the condom and throw it in the garbage. Don’t flush it down the toilet.
- Wear the condom the entire time you have sex — from start to finish. This will protect you from STIs/STDs.
- Do not use the same condom more than once.
- Latex condoms prevent the spread of STIs/STDs.
- If you or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms, which also prevent the spread of STIs/STDs.
- Condoms are affordable.
- Condoms are easy to put on.
- You don’t need a prescription, and they are easy to get in stores.
- Condoms are hormone-free.
- Condoms are temporary. You can stop using them whenever you want to try getting pregnant.
- Condoms can be used while you’re breastfeeding.
- If you follow instructions for condoms and use them every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex, you have a high chance of preventing pregnancy, and not getting or spreading STIs.
- Condoms can take time to get used to.
- Condoms are one-use only.
- You need to put on a condom before there’s any skin-to-skin genital or oral contact. They don’t work as well if you put them on during sex.
- You need to use them correctly every time.
- Condoms made of lambskin or other animal membranes don’t protect against STIs/STDs. They only protect against pregnancy.
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© 2019 Kaiser Permanente
1“Condom,” Planned Parenthood, plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/condom/how-effective-are-condoms, accessed August 13, 2019.
2Costs are dependent on your policy terms. For questions about your coverage, please call Member Services or view your benefit coverage documents.