Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size

The Hard Facts on Condoms


Do They Work?

How well a condom works depends a lot on if you use it the right way. It's possible for a woman to get pregnant even if her partner uses one. In a year, 2 out of every 100 women whose partners always use condoms correctly will get pregnant. That number rises to 18 out of every 100 women when their partners don’t use the condom correctly every time.

Condoms also greatly lower the risk that one person will pass an STD to the other. The exact risk varies by the type of disease. For example, condoms are almost 100% effective at protecting against HIV. But HPV, the most common sexually transmitted disease, can infect areas that a condom does not cover, such as the scrotum. They lower the risk of HPV infection, but they don’t get rid of it.

So How Do You Use a Condom?

  • Make sure you don’t tear the condom when you open the package.
  • Throw it out if it’s brittle, stiff, sticky, or expired.
  • Put it on after the penis is erect and before it comes into contact with any part of your partner.
  • Keep it on the whole time, from start to finish.
  • Use a new one every time. That means for every erection.
  • If the man wearing the condom is uncircumcised, pull the foreskin back before you put it on.
  • If the condom doesn’t have a reservoir tip, pinch the end to leave about a half inch of space to collect the semen after ejaculation.
  • As you hold onto the tip (if there’s not a reservoir), use the other hand to roll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis.
  • If you feel it break or tear during sex, stop immediately, pull out, and put on a new condom.
  • After ejaculation and before the penis loses its erection, carefully pull out, making sure the condom stays on.
  • When you remove it, make sure the semen doesn’t spill out.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on August 19, 2015
1 | 2
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Here's what to expect.
man opening condom wrapper
Do you know the right way to use them?
birth control pills
Here's what to do next.
doctor and patient
His and her options.
Concerned teenage girl
hospital gown
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
pregnancy test and calendar
contraceptive pills
Young couple looking at each other, serious
woman reading pregnancy test result