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Male/external condom

What is a male/external condom?

A male/external condom is a thin, single-use rubber that unrolls and completely covers the penis. Condoms can be used for vaginal or anal sex and they are the only prevention method that will protect you from pregnancy AND protect you from HIV or other STIs.

You can use condoms in combination with all other types of contraceptives (methods to prevent pregnancy). You can also use condoms with HIV prevention methods like PrEP.

There is also a female/internal condom.

How do male/external condoms work?

Condoms stop sperm from getting into the vagina and reaching an egg which may cause pregnancy. They also stop other fluids that come from the penis from entering the vagina or anus, and provide protection against STIs and HIV.  You need to use a new condom every time you have sex.

Learn how to use the male/external condom here:

Where can I get a male/external condom?

You can get condoms at government health facilities, some schools, and some community organisations. Condoms can be purchased at some stores e.g. pharmacies, supermarkets, and petrol stations. Search for your nearest facility or store here.

How much do condoms cost?

They are free at some government health facilities. Depending on the brand, male condoms cost somewhere between R8.00 to R170.00 for a pack of three.


  • Condoms protect against STIs and HIV as well as pregnancy.
  • Condoms protect both partners.
  • Both partners can purchase condoms.


  • It is rare, but some people are allergic to latex. Latex-free condoms are available.

Dual protection

Using condoms every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex is the best way to reduce your chances of getting or spreading STIs. So even if you’re using another type of contraceptive (like the pill), it’s a good idea to also use condoms to prevent the spread of STIs and HIV. This is called dual protection. 

It’s important to remember that condoms only work when you use them correctly and also every single time you have sex.

Important points to remember when using a condom

  • Always follow the instructions because condoms can tear if not used correctly. If the condom tears, there is a risk of HIV, STIs or pregnancy.
  • Only use water-based or silicone-based lubricants. Never use oil-based lubricants like baby oil as this will cause the condom to tear. 
  • Do not use a female and male condom together at the same time. Using both at the same time can cause condoms to tear.

Is the male condom your ideal contraceptive? Take the test!

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