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Condom - Male

Condom - Male

Alternate Names

  • prophylactic
  • rubber
  • Male condoms


A male condom is a flexible sheath placed over the penis during intercourse to prevent pregnancy. Using a condom can also protect both partners against some sexually transmitted infections or diseases.

What is the information for this topic?

Condoms are usually made of latex rubber. They can also be made of other types of synthetic rubber, or from natural lambskin. Condoms are sold in drugstores and many other places in a variety of sizes, colors, and textures. The condoms may come with or without a spermicide, which provides extra protection against pregnancy.
When used correctly and consistently every time, condoms are 86% to 97% effective in preventing pregnancy and 0% to 85% effective in preventing sexually transmitted diseases.
The condom is designed to prevent sperm from coming into contact with the other person, as well as other tissue and body contact most but not all of the time. With male condoms, skin surfaces like the scrotum and labia, or outer lips of the vagina may still touch. And any condom may break or slip during sexual activity.
According to the CDC, using a male latex condom 100% of the time, can lessen, but not eliminate the risk of getting an STI, such as:
  • herpes
  • chlamydia
  • gonorrhea
  • syphilis
  • chancroid
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS
  • trichomoniasis
There is no evidence that using a male condom can lessen the risk of getting:
  • hepatitis B,
  • pelvic inflammatory disease (PID),
  • pubic lice,
  • scabies, or
  • human papilloma virus, also known as HPV or genital warts. Some types of HPV increase a woman's risk of cervical cancer or precancerous changes of the cervix, called cervical dysplasia. Even so, correct and consistent condom use has been associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer, an HPV-associated disease.

So, consistent and correct condom use does not eliminate the risk of STIs and STDs. For example, the CDC reports that condoms can reduce the risk of contracting HIV by 85%, but only if correctly and consistently used. Unfortunately, this is less likely to be the case when teenagers or individuals who are high on drugs are involved.

Here are some important facts about using male condoms:
  • Latex condoms are the best type for disease prevention.
  • Condoms should be stored in a cool dry place. They should be thrown away and not used if they have expired, the package looks damaged, or they have dried out. They should be handled carefully.
  • Condoms with lubrication, spermicide, and a reservoir tip may provide more safety.
  • Any added lubricant should be water-based and not have oil in it. Lubricants like petroleum jelly, shortening, or baby oil should not be used. Spermicidal creams, foams, and jellies can be used with condoms.
  • A condom is placed on the man's erect penis before sexual intercourse. The condom should be removed from the package carefully to avoid damaging it. It is unrolled over the head of the penis until it won't unroll any further. No air should be trapped underneath the condom, but a small pocket of air should be left at the tip.
  • After intercourse, the sheathed penis should be withdrawn while still erect. The condom should be held at the base of the penis during withdrawal.
  • All condoms should be disposed of properly in the trash.
  • Condoms must never be reused.
  • If a condom breaks during intercourse, a new one should be put on. More spermicidal cream or jelly can be used. Additional measures to prevent contraception may be needed. This can include the morning-after pill.
Condoms are more effective for pregnancy prevention when they are used together with spermicides, the diaphragm and/or the cervical cap. However, condoms lubricated with spermicides are no more effective than other lubricated condoms in protecting against the transmission of HIV and other STIs.
Condoms can sometimes cause irritation or allergic reactions. If this happens, the person should see a healthcare provider.

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