April 18, 2020
30 favs

6 Questions About Condom Effectiveness

Author: Administrator
There are a a few different methods of contraception of varying degrees of effectiveness. Generally they are all quite effective, although conditions of use will have a bearing on how effective any specific contraceptive method will be for different individuals.

Having said that, it is universally accepted that only the use of a condom on a regular and consistent basis can protect a person from infecting or becoming infected by one's sex partners. Condoms are dual-purpose - to prevent pregnancy and also prevent infection. No other contraceptive method can make this claim.

How effective are condoms at doing these two things? Are condoms as effective as other contraceptive methods at preventing pregnancy? And are they really an effective barrier against STD infection? In this article we look at some of these questions.

1. Does using a condom prevent pregnancy?

There is no question that condoms are a very effective means of preventing pregnancy when used properly. While the use of condoms is relatively straightforward, there will always be instances of incorrect use. And of course using a condom 90% of the time is not good enough. Clinical studies have shown that brand name condoms can have between 95% and 98% contraceptive efficacy rate when the condom is used correctly and consistently (100% of the time).

2. Do condoms ever fail?

Unfortunately there are factors involved in condom use that are hard to control, so occasionally a condom will fail. But this almost always happens as a result of improper use rather than because of a weak or defective condom. Factors that can weaken a condom include exposure to sunlight or the age of the condom, as well as the use of an oil-based lubricant such as petroleum jelly. All of these things can make a condom "fail" - as can tearing the latex with teeth or fingernails.

3. How often do condoms break or slip off?

Studies of condom breakage that have been conducted in the United States and other countries have indicated a breakage rate of about 2%, and a slippage rate of between 1% and 5% in cases of vaginal intercourse. Both the breakage rate and the slippage rate increase for lower income men, men who do not use condoms regularly, and men engaging in higher risk sex such as having multiple partners or engaging in anal sex.

4. Can condoms prevent infection from HIV or STDs?

Many studies have shown that the use of latex condoms can be a very effective barrier against transmission of HIV or other STDs from one partner to another. In a European study of discordant couples (where one partner is infected and the other one not) of 123 couples studied - all of whom used condoms consistently - none of the uninfected partners became infected. However, it is very important that a condom be used consistently in such situations, and that it be used properly and carefully.

5. Does the thickness of the condom have a bearing on its protection against pregnancy and STDs?

Studies have shown that the thickness of a latex condom is not a factor in the protection it provides against either contraception or infection by HIV or other STDs. Thinner condoms, however, may be more easily damaged by fingernails, teeth, jewelry and other incorrect uses, so extra care should be taken when using a thinner condom.

6. How do they test condoms?

Latex condoms go through several stages in the manufacturing process, and tests are applied at every stage. Some of these tests are done by machine and some are done manually by humans. For example, in the US, each condom is electronically tested for holes or defects.

Individual samples are also taken from each lot and examined visually using a water leak test. The batch samples are filled with 300 ml of water and suspended for 3 minutes to test for holes, weakness and other defects.

Other samples from each lot also undergo an Air Inflation Test. In this test the sample condoms are filled with air until they reach the bursting point. A typical condom will hold about 40 liters of air without bursting. This is the equivalent of about 9 gallons of water.

Other tests conducted on batch samples are carefully examined for size and thickness, tested for physical strength, or prematurely aged by applying heat. This is meant to ensure that condoms within each batch will last longer than their 5 year product life.


There haven't been any comments on this post yet.
Be the first one!

Post a Comment

You are not currently logged in. Please either login, register, or you can post as a guest user with the form below.