What is it?

•    The condom is a barrier contraceptive method.

•    Also referred to as a “rubber” or “prophylactic”, the condom is a
sheath open at one end, usually made of transparent latex.

•    Latex condoms are the safest and most resistant. They are available
in lubricated and non-lubricated form, with or without a reservoir tip
(to collect the semen), with or without spermicide, and can be coloured
or ribbed.

•    Easy to obtain, condoms are sold in pharmacies, some convenience
, at schools, restaurants, bars, etc. They are available with no
prescription. You can also obtain free condoms at the school infirmary
or at the CLSC.

•    The condom is the only contraceptive method that protects against
both pregnancy and the transmission of most STIs and HIV
(with the
exception of herpes and the human papilloma virus, or HPV).

How does it work?

A condom is placed on an erect penis before any genital or anal contact
or penetration
. It acts as a barrier by preventing sperm from getting
into the vagina. It should be used with a water-based spermicidal lubricant. Make
sure the condom is made of latex and make sure the expiry date has not
passed. If you are allergic to latex, you can consult a nurse or pharmacist.

How is it used?

•    To put on a condom, roll it onto the full length of the erect penis.

•    Pinch the tip of the reservoir to leave about two centimetres of
space at the tip
and squeeze out any air to leave room for the semen;
make sure the condom doesn’t tear.

•    After ejaculation, immediately remove your penis from the vagina,
holding the condom at the base of your penis so it doesn’t slip into the
vagina upon withdrawal and to avoid spilling semen near the vulva.

•    It is recommended to use lubricated condoms or a water-based
lubricant for intercourse with penetration; the use of Vaseline is not
because it affects the condom, which could break.
Non-lubricated condoms are recommended for oral sex.

•    A new condom must be used each time penetration occurs.


•    Condoms offer good protection against most STIs (Chlamydia,
gonorrhea, hepatitis B, etc.) and HIV. But they don’t protect
against the transmission of herpes or human papilloma virus
(HPV) if
there are lesions on the pubis or thighs because it does not cover these
areas. Nonetheless, the condom remains the best protection against

•    Condoms are very easy to obtain and you don’t have to see a doctor.

•    Condoms are easy to use.

•    They come in handy for occasional or spontaneous sexual relations.

•    Contrary to other methods, their contraceptive effect ceases
immediately upon termination
of use, meaning they can be used in the
month or weeks leading up to a planned pregnancy.

•    The condom is the only contraceptive that allows the male to prevent a possible pregnancy in his partner.

•    Condoms can be incorporated into or enhance foreplay. Also, many
men find that condoms allow them to prolong intercourse because they
slightly reduce sensitivity, helping delay ejaculation.


•    Condoms have to be put on during sexual activity, which is an
interruption some people don’t like; others find enjoyable ways of
incorporating it into sexual caressing.

•    Condoms can reduce sensitivity for men.

•    Heat can break down condoms (including body heat when a condom is kept in a pant pocket).

•    Condoms are fragile and need to be handled with care!

Cost and effectiveness

•    Cost: Condoms generally cost between $8 and $10 per dozen

•    Effectiveness: 97% (most failures are due to improper use)


•    Use a condom that fits. Don’t use a condom that’s too big or too small because it could either break or overflow.
•    Don’t open a condom package with a sharp object such as scissors or your teeth. Use your fingers instead because the condom is fragile.
•    Be careful of metal objects (rings, watches) and fingernails, to avoid tearing.
•    For anyone who is allergic to latex, polyurethane condoms are available. They are more expensive than latex condoms and are only available in certain pharmacies and specialty stores.
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