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Male-external condom

A male condom is:

  • 98% effective when you use the method correctly every time 
  • 82% effective when you don’t always use the method correctly

What is it?

A male condom is a barrier method that a man puts over his penis to help prevent a woman becoming pregnant. It also prevents him from catching or spreading sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Most male condoms are made of latex.

How does it work?

A thin sheath is rolled onto an erect penis before sex and prevents sperm from entering the woman’s vagina during sex.


  • Condoms are widely available for sale without a prescription.
  • Allows both men and women to take responsibility for contraception.
  • Condoms can be used with other methods of contraception to practise safer sex and prevent unplanned pregnancy and STIs.
  • They can help to protect both partners from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
  • They have no medical side effects.


  • Putting a condom on correctly needs practice.
  • Taking one out will need practice. You must hold the base of the penis when withdrawing after sex to stop the condom from slipping.
  • Condoms can get damaged if handled roughly or used with an oil-based lubricant like Vaseline.
  • Must be used before expiry date on the packet.