How Effective are Condoms Really at Preventing Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections?
[Seventeen, 6/7/19] For many people, when you think about safe sex, you immediately think about condoms. According to The Guttmacher Institute, they’re the third most common form of contraception in the US, behind the pill and tubal sterilization. But how effective are condoms really? And are there things you should be doing in order to further prevent your risk of an unwanted pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted infection? I talked to Natasha Bhuyan, MD and family physician at One Medical, about all things condoms and how to make sure your safe sex is actually safe.
SO, HOW EFFECTIVE ARE CONDOMS?
There are a lot of variables that can make a condom less effective (like if they are expired or not stored appropriately). When discussing the effectiveness of condoms, it’s also important to distinguish what you are trying to prevent. “The reality is, condoms are not great at preventing pregnancy,” Dr. Bhuyan says. “But they’re certainly much more effective at preventing STIs.”
If a heterosexual couple uses a condom the correct way every single time they engage in intercourse, Dr. Bhuyan says the condom will be 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. Most couples don’t use them every time, however, or they don’t use them correctly.
“Someone might take the condom off in the middle, and, of course, we know that condoms can also break,” she says. “So, the real life statistic for condom effectiveness is that they’re actually 85% effective at preventing pregnancies.”
That being said, when it comes to preventing STIs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, condoms are actually 98% effective. However, they aren’t as great for infections transmitted through skin to skin contact, like herpes or genital warts. “While condoms can reduce the risk of contracting those infections, they can’t eliminate it entirely,” Dr. Bhuyan says. “Condoms can reduce the risk of herpes from male to female by 96% and from female to male to 65%.” That means it’s necessary to know your partner’s sexual history and to get tested regularly in order to avoid contracting an infection…..
Read the Full Article at: Seventeen
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Jaelin Stickels, CNM, WHNP
Owner, SHEis & Holistic Heritage, Spring, TX