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Contraceptives

How to Protect Yourself

When starting a new relationship, both partners should get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) before engaging in sexual activities. 

REMEMBER: just because you're symptom free, doesn't mean you're infection free.  As awkward as it may be, It’s also important to talk to your partner to figure out what method of birth control is right for both of you.

TIPS

  • Use condoms & dental dams to protect against STIs
  • Use hormonal contraceptive methods to protect against getting pregnant
  • Women who are sexually active should get regular pap tests (i.e., 1x/yr)
Barrier Methods

Male Condoms
Male Condom

  • Fits over the shaft of the penis & is made of latex97% effective if used properly (CAUTION: may slip off during sex or break with rough handling)
  • Protects against most STIs, except HPV & Hepatitis B
  • For added protection against pregnancy, pair with spermicide
  • Inexpensive (approx. $0.50 each) 

How to Talk About Condoms with Your Partner

  • PLAN AHEAD – initiate the talk before initiating the act!
  • If you’re worried about getting pregnant & getting an STI you can say “Two methods are better than one”
  • If it’s the first time with your partner, you can say “I always use condoms, okay?”
  • If your partner says “don’t you trust me”, you can say “this isn’t about trust, it’s about protecting each other”
  • If your partner says “I don’t have a condom”, you can carry extras and say “that’s okay, I have one”

How to Use a Male Condom

  • Check the expiry date on the outside of the package
  • Rip open the condom package carefully – if it’s torn, brittle, stiff, or sticky, throw it out & use another
  • Put the rolled condom on the end of the erect penis - you should have the lubricated side on the inside
  • Leave some space at the end of the condom (for semen collection)
  • Pinch the tip of the condom with one hand & roll the condom down the shaft of the penis
  • After ejaculating, hold onto the base of the condom (near the testicles) & pull out before the penis gets soft
  • Take the condom off the penis away from your partner & throw it away

Female Condoms
Female Condom     

  • Inserted into vagina & made of polyurethane - it looks like round upside-down baggie
  • 95% effective if used properly (CAUTION: may be difficult to insert properly)
  • Expensive (approx. $3.00 each)
  • Can be noisy during sex

Diaphragm

Photo of diaphragm

  • Covers female cervix & made of latex
  • 92-96% effective (CAUTION: must always be used with spermicide (approx. 1-2 tsp)
  • Doesn't protect against STIs
  • Need to make an appointment with your doctor to get one fitted (approx. $40.00 each)
  • Can be inserted before sex
  • It may cause urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Cervical Cap

Cervical Cap

  • Fits against female cervix & made of silicone
  • 80-91% effective if never given birth & 60-74% effective if given birth (CAUTION: must always be used with spermicide (approx. 1-2 tsp))
  • Doesn't protect against STIs
  • Need to make an appointment with your doctor to get one fitted (approx. $40.00 each)
  • Can be inserted before sex

Spermicides (nonoxynol-9)

Photo of spermicide          

  • Cream, gel, foam, or suppository that destroys sperm on contact
  • Used with other barrier methods – not effective on own (CAUTION: can increase risk of HIV transmission if used alone)
  • Protects against pregnancy, bacterial infections, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Must be inserted right before sex (only effective for 1 hr)
  • Can irritate vaginal opening or tip of penis 
  • 97% to 99% effective but does not prevent against STIs
Hormonal Methods

Injections (Depo-Provera)

Photo of injection

  • Needle given in the arm or buttocks every 12-13 weeks
  • Contains progestin only
  • 99.7% effective (CAUTION: doesn’t protect against STIs)
  • Can cause bone density loss
  • Most common side effects include irregular bleeding, & weight gain
  • Safe for breastfeeding mothers

Oral Contraceptive Pill (i.e., “The Pill”)

Photo of the pill       

  • Small pill taken at the same time each day for 21 of the 28 days of the menstrual cycle to prevent the release of an egg every month
  • 98% effective (CAUTION: doesn’t protect against STIs)
  • Two types of pills exist:
    • Combination pill – contains 2 hormones (progesterone & estrogen)
    • Mini-pill – contains only progesterone
  • Side effects may include spotting, nausea, breast tenderness, moodiness, headaches, and weight gain BUT most go away within the first month

Contraceptive Patch (Ortho-Evra)

Photo of the patch   

  • Small 4x4cm patch contains 2 hormones (progesterone & estrogen)
  • Prevents the release of an egg every month & prevent sperm from entering the uterus
  • 97% effective (CAUTION: doesn’t protect against STIs)
  • Patch is put on your buttocks, stomach, upper arm, or back
  • Patch schedule – replaced every week for 3 weeks ON & 1 week OFF
  • Side effects may include breakthrough bleeding, breast tenderness, headaches, nausea, and/or skin irritation BUT most go away within the first 3 months
Surgical Methods

Tubal Libation

  • Surgery closes off the fallopian tubes which means sperm can’t reach the egg
  • Permanent method of birth control – known as female sterilization
  • 100% effective (CAUTION: doesn’t protect against STIs)

Vasectomy

  • Surgery closes off the tubes that carry sperm to the penis
  • Permanent method of birth control – known as male sterilization
  • 100% effective (CAUTION: doesn’t protect against STIs)
Other Methods

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

  • Small t-shaped device with copper wire is inserted into the uterus by a health professional which disrupts the chemistry & destroys sperm
  •  Protects against contraception for up to 5 years (CAUTION: doesn’t protect against STIs)

Intrauterine System (IUS)

  • Small t-shaped device that slowly releases the hormone levonorgestrel is inserted into the uterus by a health professional which makes it harder for sperm to enter the uterus
  • Protects against contraception for up to 5 years (CAUTION: doesn’t protect against STIs)

Withdrawal

  • Penis is withdrawn from vagina before ejaculation
  • Unplanned pregnancy occurs in 1 of 5 cases (CAUTION: sperm may be in pre-ejaculate)
  • Requires practice – it’s recommended that you use a condom & spermicide first until method is perfected

Sympto-thermal Method

  • Teaches a woman how to determine if she’s fertile through observation, charting, and interpreting her body temperature and cervical mucus
  • 75-88% effective (CAUTION: doesn’t protect against STIs)
  • Usually takes women 3-6 cycles to learn fertility signs
  • Regular menstrual cycle timeline:
    • 3-7 days of menstruation
    • Several days of no mucus
    • Several days of wet or slippery mucus – it becomes more slippery, stretchy, and clear as ovulation approaches
    • After ovulation body temperature rises & mucus disappears
  • Fertile days start with the first sensation of mucus until it disappears & body temperature has been high for 3 days in a row