Condoms are necessary when you need to protect yourself or your partner from sexually transmitted infection (STI) or when you do not know that you are both infection-free. Latex or polyurethane male condoms give you and your partner the most effective possible protection from STIs, including infection with HIV. Natural membrane (sheepskin) condoms do not protect you against all STIs.
Barrier methods of birth control, such as a diaphragm, cervical cap, cervical shield or condom, are a good choice if:
- You want an option that does not require hormones or insertion of an intrauterine device.
- You want an option that does not restrict when you have sexual intercourse, such as natural family planning.
- You are planning to become pregnant soon and prefer a method you can stop using anytime you want.
- You are breast-feeding.
- You have heavy menstrual periods. A diaphragm may be used for birth control during a menstrual period and can contain the menstrual blood as long as it is not left in for longer than 6 hours at a time.
- You and your partner find it easy to use the method every time you have sex.
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