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Deciding on a method of contraception

Contraception is used for both birth control and/or protection from sexually transmitted disease (STD). All contraceptive and protective methods have advantages and disadvantages. A full understanding of all aspects of contraception is important in making the right choices for individual needs. Heterosexual intercourse may combine both contraceptive (birth control) effectiveness andSTD/HIV prevention, while for homosexual sex STD/HIV protection will be the primary concern. It is important to remember that AIDS is much more dangerous to your health than pregnancy, and unlike pregnancy, there is no way that the disease can be terminated.

Choosing a method for contraception and/or STD prevention means choosing a method which is right for a person’s personal preferences and needs at a given point, but may change with different situations, relationships, etc. There are many well, written informative books that can be useful to read when searching for the right method of contraception. To source a good book on birth control click here.

Choosing a method of birth control is not always easy as in addition to thinking about the effectiveness, benefits, and possible side-effects, you also need to think about what you feel comfortable using. Talking about birth control with a partner can be hard. It may help to try to sort out your own feelings before you bring up the subject with your partner. Try to find a time and a way to talk about it that feels comfortable to you.

Your main concern may be with preventing pregnancy when you choose a method of birth control, but if you or your partner has ever had sexual contact with anyone else, you may be at risk of contracting an STD. Using condoms and spermicide provides the greatest protection against STD’s. Different Condoms, spermicides and lubricants are readily available at most pharmicies, and if you feel uncomfortable ordering from your local chemist there are many online pharmicies that can deliver your sexual health products by mail-order.

The message is clear: anyone who engages in casual sex or is having sex with a new partner should use a condom even if contraceptive protection is provided by the Pill. Women as well as men are recommended to carry condoms with them.

Effective rates of each method

The effectiveness rate is important to consider when choosing a birth control method.

Current information on effectiveness rates:

  • Abstinence 100%
  • Depro-Provera 99.7%
  • Diaphragm or Cap with Spermicide 85 to 96%
  • Female Condom 85 to 98%
  • IUD (Intrauterine Device) 98 to 99%
  • IUS (Intrauterine System) impregnated with progestogen almost 100%
  • Male Condom & Spermicide 85 to 98%
  • Male Condom Only 88%
  • Norplant 99.9%
  • Oral Contraceptives 97% (Combined Pill almost 100%; Progesterone Only Pill about 97%)
  • Spermicide Only 79%
  • Tubal Ligation almost 100%
  • Vasectomy almost 100%
Methods of Contraception

Further Advice

Contact your local health care practitioner, the Family Planning Association or a local Family Planning Clinic. Visit our support page for a clinic in your area.

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