What are condoms?
Condoms are the only method of contraception that protects you against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
How to use condoms
When used properly, a condom is very effective. It must be put on before any sex otherwise sperm in pre-come can get into the vagina and risk pregnancy and STIs could be passed on too. It’s also important not to use oil-based lubricants (such as baby oil or vaseline) as these can damage the condom. You can get water-based lubricants at Chemists or through our Schemes below. Always check the expiry date and the CE and kite marks – this means the condom is safe to use.
If you have any sex without a condom, you could be at risk of unplanned pregnancy. You can get free emergency contraception from your GP, local Sexual Health Clinic or local Pharmacy. If you’re under 21, emergency contraception is free from some Pharmacies. You should get advice as soon as possible and test for STIs 2 weeks later.
Where you can get condoms
If you are under 21, you can join the C-Card scheme. This means you can get free condoms from Find It Out Centres, Children and Family Centres, Sexual Health Clinics and some Pharmacies (link).
If you are over 21, you can get free condoms from your GP or Practice Nurse, or from any Sexual Health Clinic.