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Are Condoms 100% Effective?

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Are condoms 100% effective?
- Kelsey*

No condom prevents pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) 100% of the time. But if you and your partner are having sex, nothing protects against STDs better than a properly used condom.

For those having sex, condoms must always be used to protect against STDs even when using another method of birth control. They must be used correctly and must be used every time you have sex. Even when used correctly, condoms do not protect against infections spread from sores on the skin not covered by a condom (such as the base of the penis or scrotum).

Using a condom correctly doesn't only mean putting it on right side out. You should also:

If a condom breaks or slips off and you or your partner is concerned about pregnancy, call your health care provider or pharmacist to discuss emergency contraception. And both partners should be tested for STDs.

While condoms aren't perfect, if you're going to have sex, they are the best way to protect yourself.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: July 2011

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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