Valley Teen Clinic

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Birth Control


What are condoms and how do they work?

Condoms are made of thin latex or polyurethane (a type of plastic) and fit over a guy's erect penis.

Condoms work by blocking or catching the sperm and preventing it from going inside the girl’s vagina.

Latex condoms can only be used with a water based lubricant. Oil based lubricant will break down the latex and cause it to tear.

Polyurethane condoms can be used with both water based lubricant or oil based lubricant. Care should be taken if using oil based lubricants with polyurethane condoms, oil based lubricants can cause vaginal infections (yeast infections).

What are my chances of not getting pregnant by using condoms?

If used correctly every time, they are 97% effective.

If not used correctly every time, they are 86% effective.

If used with a spermicide, they are more than 99% effective.

Are there any side effects to using condoms?
There are no side effects unless you are allergic to latex. If you are allergic to latex, use polyurethane.

What are the Pros of using condoms?

  • You don't need to see a medical professional to get them, you can buy them at many types of stores: drugstores, markets, discount stores, etc.
  • Helps prevent transmission of some STDs and HIV.
  • Easy to use.

What are the Cons of using condoms?

  • Interrupts sex.
  • Condoms with spermicide can cause irritation in some people.
  • Can make transmission of STDs and HIV easier if allergic to spermicide or to latex.
  • Some guys say that condoms reduce the sensation.
  • Condoms do not protect against some STDs, especially genital warts (HPV or human papilloma virus) and genital herpes.