Male and Female Condoms Essay

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MALE AND FEMALE CONDOM. The male condom is a thin sheath usually made of rubber (latex) that is placed on an erect penis before intercourse. It is the only method of contraception that also provides protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. The female condom is a thin, soft, loose-fitting plastic (polyurethane) pouch that lines the vagina. It has two flexible rings: an inner ring at the closed end, used to insert the device inside the vagina and to hold it in place, and an outer ring which remains outside the vagina and covers the external genitalia. Because the device is made from polyurethane, the female condom can be used with any type of lubricant (water- or oil-based) without compromising the integrity of the device. Mechanisms of action Condoms serve as a physical barrier, preventing sperm from entering the female reproductive tract. They also serve as a barrier for infectious microorganisms, preventing transmission of STIs/HIV from one sexual partner to another. Characteristics of condoms (includes both male and female condoms) • Safe • Prevent both pregnancy and STIs/HIV (when used consistently and correctly) • Not as effective for pregnancy prevention as other methods in typical use • Easy to initiate and discontinue • Require motivation to use consistently and correctly • Require partner’s cooperation • Immediate return to fertility • Have virtually no side effects • May interrupt sexual activity or reduce sexual pleasure • Require proper storage and resupply Additional characteristics of the female condom • Female-controlled • May be more comfortable to men, less decrease in sensation than with the male latex condom • Provides additional protection to external genitalia • Can be inserted before intercourse • Stronger (polyurethane is 40 percent stronger than latex) Possible side effects
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