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The Male Condom

What is it?
The male condom is a piece of latex that is placed on the penis before intercourse and prevents sperm from entering the vagina. Latex condoms are one of the most effective types of condoms on the market and help prevent both pregnancy and the transmission of diseases, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

How does it work?
The condom provides a physical barrier so that no sperm can come in contact with the vagina. But in order for the condom to be an effective form of protection, it must be used properly. Before engaging in intercourse, place the condom on an erect penis. After checking the expiration date on the package, squeeze any excess air from the tip of the condom. Next, unroll the condom over the erect penis, leaving space at the tip so that there is room to collect the semen. After ejaculation, be sure to hold the base of the condom when withdrawing, so that the semen does not spill out. Finally, remove the condom and throw it away. Be sure to use a new condom every time you engage in intercourse.

How effective is the Condom?
If the condom is used properly, it is about 77-95% effective in preventing pregnancy and most STD’s. In order to achieve the best possible protection, be sure to store the condom in a cool, dry place and use it before the expiration date. Also, avoid using oil based lubricants, as it can break down the fibers in the latex and increase the chance of a broken or damaged condom.
If a condom breaks, consider using the Morning After Pill (see Emergency Contraception).

Advantages of the Condom
· Sold over the counter in many stores
· Inexpensive
· No serious health risks involved
· Provides the male with an active role in preventing pregnancy and STD’s
· Increases protection from HIV and other STD’s

Disadvantages of the Condom
· If the condom breaks or is not worn properly, it is ineffective
· Some people experience an allergic reaction to latex. Other types of condoms are available, but they are not as effective as latex.
· May reduce sensitivity or pleasure
· May interrupt sex since the condom must be put on the erect penis

Where can I get Condoms?
Condoms are sold over the counter at most drug stores throughout the country. You can buy condoms with spermicides, lubricated condoms, and condoms in different sizes and colors. Your reproductive health care provider or your local family planning center can provide you with condoms as well.

Birth Control Pill Hormonal Injections IUD The Male Condom Spermicide Vaginal Barriers Emergency Contraception

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