What is a condom?
A condom is a thin rubber sleeve that is put over the penis. You put a condom on a stiff penis before penetration. It catches the semen when the man ejaculates.
Method of contraception
You can use a condom during sexual intercourse if you do not want to have a child. It is a method of contraception.
Protection against HIV and STIs
A condom protects you and your partner against HIV and most STIs. It lowers the risk of infection with other STIs. However, it does not always fully cover sores, blisters and warts on the skin of your or your partner. This means that you still run a risk of infection with an STI.
Use a condom when having vaginal sex or anal sex. This will protect you against HIV and lower the risk of getting other STIs.
Do not get blood or semen in your mouth during oral sex. This makes the risk of infection with HIV very small. Using a condom when having oral sex can lower the risk of getting other STIs.
If you and your partner do not want to use a condom, talk to a doctor about getting tested for STIs or HIV.
You can buy condoms without a prescription at a pharmacy or supermarket. Sometimes you can also find them in other shops, bars and nightclubs or vending machines. You can also buy condoms on the internet.
A condom costs about 0.20 €. Special condoms, for example with a special flavour or ribs, can cost up to € 1 apiece. Some organisations offer condoms for free. Ask one of the health professionals below.
There are also female condoms.