It’s easy to find free condoms made of safe and pleasurable materials – even if you’re under 16
Condoms have been around for yonks. Cave paintings in France suggest that (very old school) condoms were in use over 13,000 years ago.
In the time since then, around the world, people have used condoms made of a variety of unpleasant-sounding materials – including linen, tortoiseshell and animal intestines. Ew.
These days, thankfully, it’s easy to find free condoms made of safe and pleasurable materials – and even if you’re under 16. Here’s how.
Condoms are the only contraception that protects against pregnancy and STIs
When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective
Condoms have an expiry date, so check it before use
There are many different brands, sizes and shapes, flavours and textures of condoms
Latex-free condoms are available for people who have a latex allergy
WHERE TO GET FREE CONDOMS
The quickest and easiest way to find free condoms is to use the NHS’s nifty ‘Free Condoms’ search tool, or to search online for a specific type of service you’d like to use. Here are some key locations:
Most GP surgeries will happily provide free condoms. You can talk to your GP or practice nurse. You can also ask your GP or practice nurse any questions you might have about safe sex.
Contraception and Sexual Health Clinics
It’s a good idea to find out where your local contraception or sexual health clinic is. As well as handing out free condoms, these clinics provide a range of services, including: advice about contraception, many different (free) contraceptives, emergency contraception, free pregnancy tests and STI testing. Anybody can go to a contraception or sexual health clinic, no matter what their age, sexual orientation or lifestyle.
Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) Clinics
A GUM clinic is an NHS-run clinic that deals with all aspects of sexual health. As with contraception and sexual health clinics, you can go to your local GUM clinic for a range of free, confidential advice and treatments.
Sexual Health Clinics for Young People
Some young people prefer to use clinics or services aimed specifically at people their age. You can use the NHS website to find sexual health clinics that specialise in young people’s sexual health.
Young People’s Services
Services such as Brook hand out free condoms from their offices, in addition to providing non-judgemental and honest information and advice about sexual health. A quick online search should show which young people’s services operate near you.
Some areas of the UK, such as London, participate in the C-card scheme, which entitles people aged 13-24 to free condoms from any outlets that display the scheme’s logo. An online search will reveal whether your area of the UK participates in the scheme.
Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland will send free condoms to men who have sex with men and live in rural and remote areas of Scotland. There are other services that will send condoms to certain postcodes, though this is by no means available in every part of the UK. Check online to see whether you’re eligible to receive free condoms through the post.
Suit up and enjoy!