How effective are condoms?
Condoms are the only contraceptive method that helps protect against both pregnancy and STIs (including HIV) but many people don’t use them correctly. When used consistently and correctly condoms are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV and many other STIs. Condoms are also 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly, every time.
Condoms have expiration dates, a BSI or CE kite mark (image to the left) to ensure that they have been tested and approved by the European and British Safety Standards so do check the label of the condom before using for maximum effectiveness.


Condoms have expiration dates, a BSI or CE kite mark (image to the left) to ensure that they have been tested and approved by the European and British Safety Standards so do check the label of the condom before using for maximum effectiveness.

If the condom is ripped or looks dry, brittle, stiff, or sticky, it should not be used. Don’t store condoms in a location that can get very hot, like in your car. If you keep a condom in your wallet or purse, replace it with a new one regularly.

What’s the best kind of condom to use?
Condoms come in lots of colours, flavours, textures, lengths, widths, and thicknesses. However, the most important thing when choosing a brand is that the condoms are made of latex or polyurethane (plastic); both of these are highly effective in preventing STIs, HIV and pregnancy. Non latex condoms are available for those with a latex allergy.

Avoid using animal skin (or “natural”) condoms, which prevent pregnancy but aren’t as effective in preventing all STIs, including HIV. Also, while male condoms are more popular, female condoms, which are inserted into the vagina, are also an option. For more information on female condoms click here.

Where can I get condoms?

Dhiverse has condom packs for sale for a suggested donation of £2.50 for a pack of 4, not only will you be protecting yourself but you will help us to support more people in need of our services. All the money raised from donations will go back into our services. You can get our condoms in the following ways:

  • Drop by our office in Dales Brewery, Gwydir Street to make a donation and pick up condoms
  • Email us with your request, make the relevant donation online through our donate button and we will post condoms out to you
  • Send us a cheque (made payable to Dhiverse) with your request and postal address and we will post condoms out to you
  • Catch us at various events around the county where these condom packs will be available.

If you’d like us to post condoms to you, postage may need to be added;

  • Up to 8 packs – FREE postage
  • Over 8 packs – postage will need to be added and we will advise how much at the time of your request.

Please email or call Lucy on 01223 508805.

Schools and Voluntary Organizations; We can provide bulk condoms at low cost.

You can buy condoms in lots of places: pharmacies; supermarkets; corner shops, dispensers in pubs, clubs and many other public places. There are also online retailers, including specialty condom sites as well as online pharmacies and stores that can post them to you. Many sexual health clinics, school nurses, GPs, youth clubs offer free condoms.


condoms-image-02FREE condoms are available for under 25s through the C Card scheme. You can find out more or register for C Card at You can also register for C Card anywhere that displays the C Card sign shown to the left (a list of sites are available on the c-card website); Dhiverse is a registered C Card provider.

You do not need to be 18 to buy condoms.

What kind of lubricant is best?
Using a pre-lubricated condom or applying a small amount of water-based lubricant inside and outside the condom can help prevent rips. For example KY Jelly is a water based lubricant.

Oil-based lubricants (for example petroleum jellies, body lotions, mineral or vegetable oils) should not be used with latex condoms because they can cause the latex to break down, reducing or eliminating the condom’s effectiveness.

How do you put a condom on correctly?
The condom should be put on before any genital contact. Some STIs can be transmitted without intercourse, through genital (skin-to-skin) contact. Also, pre-cum can contain semen and STIs (including HIV) so you need to wear a condom the whole time from beginning to end, each and every time.

  • To open the package, tear gently on the tear point, usually a serrated edge or tear nick, not with teeth or scissors, which could rip the condom itself. Pull the condom out slowly (with care) to prevent ripping.
  • The rolled condom should be placed over the head of the penis when the penis is hard.
  • Pinch the tip enough to leave a half-inch space for semen to collect. Holding the tip, unroll the condom all the way to the base of the penis.
  • The condom should fit snugly – but not too tight – so that it won’t slide off or break during intercourse.
  • If you start to put on a condom inside-out, don’t use it. Throw it away and use a new one. You’ll know it’s inside out because it won’t roll down the length of the penis easily.
  • If the condom rips at any time, throw that one out and use a new one.

How do you take off a condom correctly?

The most common mistake is not using condoms from start (of sexual contact) to finish (after ejaculation). Immediately after ejaculation, hold the base of the condom (so it stays in place and semen cannot spill out), and slowly withdraw the penis – while it is still hard. The condom should be wrapped in tissue and thrown away in the garbage (not in the toilet as it may clog).

What if a condom breaks?
If you feel the condom break at any point during sexual activity:

  1. Stop immediately
  2. Withdraw
  3. Remove the broken condom, and
  4. Put on a new condom.

Condoms can break, slip, or leak if they’re not put on and taken off properly. If the condom breaks, emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy. Emergency Contraception can be started 5 days after unprotected sex, but the sooner it’s started the better it works.

Most pharmacies can provide Emergency Contraception when an accredited pharmacist is on the premises. Please check with the pharmacy that they have an accredited pharmacist available by phoning before you attend. This scheme is expanding and more local pharmacies are providing this service, so you should also check with your local pharmacy and other large pharmacies found around the city centre.

  • DHIVERSE Emergency Contraception Factsheet
  • DHIVERSE Contraception Factsheet

Emergency contraception does not protect against STIs so it is advisable to go for a sexual health screening.

Visit the iCaSH website for a list of Sexual Health Clinics in Cambridgeshire