Contraception – barrier methods
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The condom is a form of barrier contraception, and stops the sperm from reaching the egg. They also provide protection from sexually transmitted infection.
Condoms are easily accessible, cheap to buy, and can also be procured free of charge from health care services. They are very good as a barrier to transmission of infection but not so good when used alone for contraception.
  • It is the only form of contraception that protects from STD’s
  • 98% effective – when used correctly
There are many brands of condom available, but patients in the UK should make sure the ones they are using carry the British Kite Mark and / or the CE logo – which proves that a particular brand has passed testing scrutiny.
Condoms and lube
Condoms no longer come packaged in a spermicidal gel. It is thought that this added little to their efficacy, and caused irritation and allergic reaction in individuals.
They do however often come packaged in lubricant. This is a water based lubricant – and oil based lubricants should not be used with condoms as they can damage the condom.
  • Other things that can affect the structural integrity of condoms include ice-cream and lipstick!
  • There are condoms specifically produced men who have sex with men (MSM), which are made of thicker rubber, and come with more lubricant.
  • Most condoms are made from latex, or a thin plastic, e.g. polyisoprene or polyurethane

Female condoms

Not particularly popular, only one brand available (Femidom). Sits inside the vagina to form an artificial lining.
  • 95% effective – when used correctly


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Dr Tom Leach

Dr Tom Leach MBChB DCH EMCert(ACEM) FRACGP currently works as a GP and an Emergency Department CMO in Australia. He is also a Clinical Associate Lecturer at the Australian National University, and is studying for a Masters of Sports Medicine at the University of Queensland. After graduating from his medical degree at the University of Manchester in 2011, Tom completed his Foundation Training at Bolton Royal Hospital, before moving to Australia in 2013. He started almostadoctor whilst a third year medical student in 2009. Read full bio

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