Facts About Condom Effectiveness
Before deciding to use condoms, it is important to know the facts about condom effectiveness. Condoms have been used since the 1500's during the syphilis outbreak. Condoms continue to be heavily promoted as the most effective method of STD prevention.
Condoms do expire. Latex breaks down with time causing condom effectiveness to decline. The condom may become thin over time, reducing durability. Manufacturers are required to print an expiration date on each individual condom package. Do not use a condom that is expired.
STDs, including HIV and AIDs are effectively prevented by use of condoms. Consistent and proper use of condoms can reduce or eliminate the risk of STD transmission. "The male latex condom is the single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections," according to UNAIDS, WHO and UNFPA as noted on Avert.org.
Human error is the most common cause of reduction in condom effectiveness. Avert.org reports, "Studies also indicate that condoms slip off the penis in about 1-5% of acts of vaginal intercourse and slip down (but not off) about 3-13% of the time." Condom packages include detailed instructions on how to properly use condoms. Inexperienced users should read the instructions and practice application prior to sexual intercourse. If used properly during application, intercourse and removal, condom effectiveness remains high.
Condoms have a 2% failure rate according to Avert.org when used properly. Real world test results are not available due to the nature of the product. Test results for condom failure are based on manufacturer test results. In the United States condom effectiveness testing is regulated by the FDA. Testing includes water leak testing, air burst rate, and other durability tests.