A condom is a thin barrier that covers the sexual organs during sex, limiting direct contact with skin and body fluids. There are both male and female condoms available. Condoms are made from latex or lambskin.
Consistent, correct use of condoms prevents both Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Pregnancy (Planned Parenthood, 2019). Nevertheless, latex condoms are the only ones that prevent both STDs and pregnancy; lambskin condoms can be used to avoid pregnancy only not STDs (CATIE, 2019). Correct use of condoms can only lower the risk of STDs’ transmission but does not treat these diseases.
The World Health Organization recognizes condoms as a critical and sustainable approach in the prevention of HV, STDs, and Unintended pregnancies (WHO, 2015). The efficacy of condoms is 98% at the prevention of unintended pregnancy. The effectiveness reduces to 85% (Planned Parenthood, 2019) Owing to human error and negligence. This rate shows the significant majority are using condoms correctly and therefore least likely to contract STDs and Unintended pregnancies.
In a global modelling analysis exercise, the WHO estimates that condoms averted over 50 million new HIV infections since its onset (WHO, 2015). Distribution of condoms in specific populations with high HIV prevalence has reduced the transmission rates. For instance, in India and Thailand, distribution of condoms among sex workers alongside other interventions was attributed to a significant reduction in transmission of HIV and STDs (WHO, 2015). Condoms have proved useful in curtailing the HIV pandemic.
Latex condoms are least likely to suffer breakage during intercourse, in a clinical study, the breakage rate of the first five condoms used was 0.4%, the rate of slippage during sex was 1.1% (Walsh, 2004). The finding shows male latex condoms rarely break during intercourse. Chances for semen leakage are significantly low. Correct use of condoms can also prevent other sexually transmitted diseases like Ebola and Zika (CDC, 2016). Condoms are therefore highly effective in the prevention of HIV, STDs and unintended pregnancies.
CATIE. (2019). Factsheets: Condoms for the prevention of HIV transmission. Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information (CATIE). Retrieved from https://www.catie.ca/en/fact-sheets/prevention/condoms
CDC. (2016, August 12). Condom Effectiveness. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/index.html
Planned Parenthood. (2019). Condom. Planned Parenthood. Retrieved from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/condom/how-effective-are-condoms
Walsh T.L. (2004). Effectiveness of the male latex condom: combined results for three popular condom brands used as controls in randomized clinical trials. Los Angeles: Carlifornia Family Health Council. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2004.05.008
WHO. (2015, July 7). HIV/AIDS. Retrieved from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/hiv/mediacentre/news/condoms-joint-positionpaper/en/