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The next problem is deciding what kind of study provides truly reliable evidence.It would be unethical to mount a randomised trial of condom use because the control group would have to stop using them altogether.
Condoms are, however, the only method on that list that has been shown to protect against STIs as well as pregnancy.
The main findings of studies we look at in more detail below are as follows: These degrees of protection may be lower than some readers expect, and rates of 98% reliability are still sometimes quoted for condoms.
These are based upon observations of their use in contraception: studies have shown that 98% of women relying on condoms as their sole form of contraception remain pregnancy free if condoms are used perfectly, meaning that they are used consistently and correctly at every act of sexual intercourse.
Laboratory studies and product testing have shown that reputable condoms tested in the laboratory are completely impermeable to micro-organisms as small as viruses.
However, the same studies show that condoms come off the penis altogether 3 to 5% of the time but may slip down (but not off) up to 13% of the time.