Condoms are a barrier method of contraception that, when used consistently and correctly, can prevent pregnancy by blocking the passage of semen into the vaginal canal. Condoms can also prevent the exchange of blood, semen, and vaginal secretions, which are the primary routes of STD transmission. In recent years, as a result of misinformation and insufficient research, the efficacy of condoms, especially in terms of STD prevention, has been debated in many forums. Research continues to show that condoms are one of the best methods of preventing unwanted pregnancy and are one of the only methods for sexually active individuals to protect themselves against STDs, including HIV.
What Are the Safest Condoms?
But and this is super important in the real world, people mess up. Or the condom breaks, or slips off. Of those women who use condoms exactly as directed, about 2 in will experience an accidental pregnancy during the first year they use this method. Of those women who do not use condoms exactly as directed, about 18 in will experience an accidental pregnancy during the first year they use this method. Are you a provider? Sign up for our weekly column on sex, life, love, kicking ass, and using better birth control. See what our medical experts have to say about birth control, health, sex, science, and more.
Consistent and correct use of the male latex condom reduces the risk of sexually transmitted disease STD and human immunodeficiency virus HIV transmission. However, condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STD. The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. However, many infected persons may be unaware of their infection because STDs often are asymptomatic and unrecognized.