If you're under the age of 25 you can get free condoms !!! All you need to do is get a card called the C-Card which you keep and show at a range of places across the Island to get your free condoms. It's that simple and brilliant!
How do I get C-Card?
It's free to sign up for a C-Card and you can get them from all over the Island. All you need to do is pop into your local Chemist, Doctor's, the IOW College, the Foyer in Ryde or the Sexual Health Clinic at St Mary's - click here to find the nearest place to you.
Once you're there, they'll run through a few things with you and ask for your date of birth and postcode. Don't worry, everything is completely confidential - that means we don't tell anybody and we won't contact you about anything. We only require your postcode so we can keep track on how many cards are being used across the Island. You will then be given your own C-Card which is the same size as a credit card and will have your postcode and the date your card was issued.
How does the C-Card work?
Once you have been given your C-Card you will be given a selection of condoms and some lube. Then, every time you need more condoms all you have to do is go to the location near you, show your card, and you'll get the free condoms. There are loads of sizes and varieties, so let us know which type you like best.
Remember gay or straight you need to use a condom!
What are the benefits of using a condom?
Using a condom EVERY time you have sex is the best way to avoid STIs ( sexually transmitted infections). Therefore whenever you have sex (anal, oral or vaginal) you must remember how important they are. They will also help to prevent unwanted pregnancies, although we strongly suggest that girls also use another form of contraception . This will stop you worrying about becoming pregnant as condoms are not always 100% effective.
What makes a condom less effective?
- If it is ripped by sharp nails or rings.
- Oil based products ( eg. handcream & vaseline) can damage latex condoms. Look for water-based lubes instead.
- If it slips off.
- If it isn't on properly.
Sometimes they can split if you don't use them properly and it isn't worth the risk. . All other forms of contraception are also completely free from your local doctors surgery or the Sexual Health Clinic at St Mary's Hospital. However, they don't protect you against STI’s so you should make sure you wear a condom and also get tested regularly.
The best advice is to always use a condom and another form of contraception and get tested regularly and with every new partner.
What should I do if the condom has split?
If the condom has split, fallen off, or you have only used it for part of the time when you were having sex then you are at risk:
- Pregnancy - it's really important to think about emergency contraception
- You may also be at risk of STIs. It's really important that you get tested.
13 - 15
All 13 to 15 year olds will be encouraged to speak to one of our trained members of staff at the distribution sites. They're totally cool and only want to make sure that you know that it's OK to say no if you do not want to have sex and give you the chance to have a chat about how you are feeling and look at all the great choices available to you. REMEMBER they are there to listen and not to tell. You need to make sure you are absolutely ready – click here for more info.
If you decide you want to go ahead and have sex because you feel it is right for you , then you can get signed up to the scheme straight away. Remember having sex under 16 is against the law.
Top Condom Tips
- Keep your condoms in a cool, dark place. Heat can damage them.
- Condoms don't last forever. Check the use-by date.
- Keep your condoms handy if there's a chance you're going to have sex - always carry a spare.
- Sperm comes out way before a boy comes so put a condom on before you get going. Don't leave it till the last minute.
- Never use a condom more than once.
- Never wear two condoms at the same time as it may cause the condoms to come off.
- Always dispose of your condoms carefully wrapped in paper in a bin. Never put them down the toilet as they can cause a blockage and never throw them away in the street or open spaces.
- 'Gel charging' (putting a little extra lubricant onto the head of the penis before you roll the condom on) can feel extra good!
Never be tempted to buy and use rubbish condoms. Always look for the BSI kitemark or the CE mark on the wrapper.