What is a condom?

A condom is a cylinder shaped sheath of latex or sheep intestine that is worn over the penis during intercourse. It can be used as a method of birth control and/or for protection against STD's. Some condoms contain Nonoxynol-9, a spermicide that not only kills sperm in case the condom leaks or breaks, but is also instrumental in reducing the rate of STD transmission.

How effective is it in preventing pregnancy?

As a method of birth control, the condoms failure rate is 12% for the typical user. For the perfect user, one who uses condoms with every act of intercourse and uses it correctly according to the user pamphlet included in the condom packaging, the failure rate is only 3%.

Health Risks

Virtually none. Some people may have an allergy to the latex in the condom or to nonoxynol-9. If you have an allergy to latex, you may want to try a sheep skin condom. However, the sheep skin condom is not as effective in preventing pregnancy or transmission of STD's and HIV as the latex due to the large pores in the sheep skin membrane.

Who should use a condom?

Anyone who is concerned with preventing pregnancy and STD transmission, especially those who are at high risk for HIV.