A condom is a sheath-shaped barrier device used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). There are both male and female condoms. With proper use—and use at every act of intercourse—women whose partners use male condoms experience a 2% per-year pregnancy rate. With typical use the rate of pregnancy is 18% per-year. Their use greatly decreases the risk of gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, hepatitis B, and HIV/AIDS. To a lesser extent, they also protect against genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), and syphilis.
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|Pregnancy rates (first year, latex)|
|User reminders||Latex condoms are damaged by oil-based lubricants|
|Advantages and disadvantages|
|Benefits||No health care visits required and low cost|
The male condom is rolled onto an erect penis before intercourse and works by forming a physical barrier which blocks semen from entering the body of a sexual partner. Male condoms are typically made from latex and, less commonly, from polyurethane, polyisoprene, or lamb intestine. Male condoms have the advantages of ease of use, easy to access, and few side effects. Men with a latex allergy should use condoms made from a material other than latex, such as polyurethane. Female condoms are typically made from polyurethane and may be used multiple times.
Condoms as a method of preventing STIs have been used since at least 1564. Rubber condoms became available in 1855, followed by latex condoms in the 1920s. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines. In the United States condoms usually cost less than US$1.00. As of 2019, globally around 21% of those using birth control use the condom, making it the second-most common method after female sterilization (24%). Rates of condom use are highest in East and Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. About six to nine billion are sold a year.