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FAQ on Condom

Condoms and spermicides Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Condom Questions
Should you use a condom when you have sexual intercourse?
Are condoms effective against AIDS and other STD's?
How do I use a condom?
How are condoms tested?
How can I check a condom is safe to use?
How often do condoms fail?
What are condoms made of?
What is the history of the common condom?
How can I persuade my partner to use a condom?
How much protection do condoms give against pregnancy? If a condom breaks what are the risks of pregnancy?
Regular condoms don't seem to fit me, what should I do?
Is using 2 condoms better than one in avoiding pregnancy?
If I use a condom I seem to lose my erection.
Can you use a condom under water?
What is the best way to get condoms?
Spermicides Questions
What are spermicides and how do they work?
Where can you get spermicides from? Do you need a prescription?

 

Condom Questions

Should you use a condom when you have sexual intercourse?

Yes, because if you are going to have sex, using a condom is the best way to protect both partners against becoming infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

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Are condoms effective against AIDS and other STD's?

Yes, but only if they are used properly.

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How do I use a condom?

There are lots of important factors to consider when using condoms. To fully understand them visit our Using Condoms page.

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How are condoms tested?

There are a range of tests performed by both regulatory agencies and the condom manufacturers. These include electronic testing, the water leak test, the air burst test and the strength test. Visit our Condoms, History, Effectiveness and Testing page for more information.

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How can I check a condom is safe to use?

Check that they have not expired, that they carry a standards approval mark (either FDA, ISO, CE or the British Standard Kite Mark depending on where you are), and that they have been properly stored. Visit our Using Condoms page for more information.

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How often do condoms fail?

Studies have shown that where used properly less than 2 in 100 condoms fails. Visit our Condoms, History, Effectiveness and Testing page for more information.

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What are condoms made of?

Condoms are usually made of latex or polyurethane. If possible you should use a latex condom, as they are slightly more reliable, and in most countries they are most readily available. To understand more about these two types of condoms and the correct lubricant to use with them visit our Using Condoms page.

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What is the history of the common condom?

Condom use can be traced back several thousand years and were once simply strips of linen. Animal intestines have also provided an alternative to today's more practical latex and polyurethane varieties. Visit our Condoms, History, Effectiveness and Testing page for a complete history

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How can I persuade my partner to use a condom?

It can be difficult to talk about using condoms, but you shouldn't let embarrassment become a health risk. The person you are thinking about having sex with may not agree at first when you say that you want to try and use a condom when you have sex. These are some excuses that might be made and some answers that you could try:

EXCUSE ANSWER
Don't you trust me? Trust isn't the point, people can have infections without realising it
I can't feel a thing when I wear a condom Maybe that way you'll last even longer and that will make up for it
I don't stay hard when I put on a condom I'll help you put it on, that will help you keep it
I don't have a condom with me I do
I'm on the pill, you don't need a condom I'd like to use it anyway. It will help to protect us from infections we may not realise we have.
But I love you Then you'll help us to protect ourselves.
Just this once Once is all it takes

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How much protection do condoms give against pregnancy? If a condom breaks what are the risks of pregnancy?

When used properly ie. the condom doesn't split or burst, they can be very effective in preventing both pregnancy and STDs. If a condom breaks and no other from of contraception such as the birth control pill is used then there is a risk that a woman may become pregnant.

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Is it possible to get different sizes of condoms?

Condoms are made in different lengths and widths, and different manufacturers produce varying sizes. There is no standard length for condoms, though those made from natural rubber will in addition always stretch if necessary to fit the length of the man's erect penis.

The width of a condom can also vary. Some condoms have a slightly smaller width to give a "closer" fit, whereas others will be slightly larger. Condom makers have realised that different lengths and widths are needed and are increasingly broadening their range of sizes.

The brand names will be different in each country, so you will need to do your own investigation of different names. There is no particular best brand of condom.

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Is using 2 condoms better than one in avoiding pregnancy?

Using two condoms at the same time-either two male condoms or a male and female condom- is not a good idea as the friction may result in one or both of the condoms tearing. If you want to take extra precautions against pregnancy when having sex, and are concerned about the possibility of a condom breaking it is better to use another form of contraception. For example, using the birth control pill as well as a condom will ensure that you both have double protection against pregnancy as well as protection against STDs.

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If I use a condom I seem to lose my erection.

It is a good idea to get some condoms before having sex and practise using them. That way you can get use to the feel of condoms and putting them on, which should help you feel more relaxed about using when having sex and less likely to use your erection.

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Can you use a condom under water?

If you are going to use a condom under water it is important that you put the condom on before you get into the water, Also, if the water contains chemicals such as chlorine, or additives such as soap, bath oil or bubble bath then this may affect the latex.

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What is the best way to get condoms?

It will depend on which country you are in, but in the UK and USA anyone can buy condoms from chemists and supermarkets. Condoms are often available from vending machines in public toilets. In some countries condoms are available free or at low-cost from clinics.

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Spermicides Questions

What are spermicides and how do they work?

Spermicides are chemical products that inactivate or kill sperm to prevent pregnancy. They are available in a variety of formats such as a cream jelly, foam or foaming tablet that is inserted into the vagina before having sex Some condoms also come lubricated with spermicide.

The most common spermicide is Nonoxynol 9. Recent research on Nonoxynol 9 has found that it does NOT protect against STDs or HIV as previously thought. So spermicides should only be used by HIV negative women who are sure that their partner is HIV negative along with a barrier method of contraception such as diaphragm or cap. Condoms containing Nonoxynol 9 are NOT recommended. However it is much safer to use a condom containing Nonoxynol 9 than no condom at all.

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Where can you get spermicides from? Do you need a prescription?

Spermicides can be bought over the counter at the chemists or you can get them from clinics. You do not need a prescription to get them.

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How to Choose and Use Condoms

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