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Birth Control vs STD Prevention – Part 1

I read this week that STD prevention funding is dwindling. Isn’t that crazy? Statistics on STDs , to me, would clearly show the NEED for continued education on the topic. However, not everyone agrees with me. So, I’ll just take it upon myself to continue providing education through this blog about STDs.

Today I want to cover something new for us: STD prevention. We’ve talked a lot about understanding each STD & how it works – but we’ve not covered how to prevent them … or what’s not preventing them.

So enjoy part 1 of “Birth control vs STD control.” Today we’ll cover the different birth control methods out there. Tomorrow we’ll review what really IS working to prevent STDs … and what’s ONLY to be used for contraception.

birth-control-vs-std-prevention

Birth Control Methods

Let’s go ahead and get the giggles out. This is going to feel like a little like sex-ed class. However hopefully since it’s online, it’s not as awkward. At least we hope so. Here are some of the most popular birth control methods as of late:

Condom (male & female)

This is probably the most common form of birth control. There are male & female condoms; male condoms are the most widely-used. Female condoms are made of rubber, inserted into the vagina before intercourse and removed immediately after. Male condoms may be made of latex or polyurethane. There are also natural or lambskin condoms. Just google them and you’ll see a very wide variety of options – each claiming to offer some unique “advantage” to their brand. Male condoms are also disposed of immediately after intercourse.

Birth control pills

Condoms are the most common birth control method that men use; birth control pills are one of the most common among women. Physicians may prescribe these pills that contain hormones that prevent ovulation. Regularly taking one pill each day of the week (optimally at the same time of the day) decreases changes of pregnancy.

Sponges

Sponges are an alternative to a female condom, yet also found over the counter. Any Seinfeld fans now thinking of the episode with Eliane and the sponge?  The sponge for contraception blocks, absorbs and releases agents that kill sperm. The Today Sponge is the only product currently approved for use in the U.S.

Diaphragms (and cervical caps/shields)

Diaphragms differ from female condoms because you need a doctor to fit you for one. Many come in the form of cups, or some are even smaller than that – for example, thimble-sized. Spermicide goes onto these contraptions and kills sperm as it enters the vagina, thus preventing pregnancy. Doctors may prescribe FemCap or Lea’s Shield, or a generic version of the two.

Ring (NuvaRing)

Women who prefer not to take pills may opt for the ring. It is worn for 3 weeks (removed the 4th week for menstruation.) It releases hormones that prevent ovulation.

The patch

Many women choose to wear the patch as a birth control method. This prescribed patch contains hormones that prevent ovulation.

Shot/injections Or IUDs

Women who really want a “fix it & forget it” solution to birth control may opt for a shot/injection or IUD. The shot or injection (brand name is Depo-Provera) will stop ovaries from producing eggs. This method requires receiving shots around every every 3 months or so.

The IUD, or intrauterine device, is implanted by a physician. This rod will create a thicker lining of mucus in the cervix. It will also prevent implantation in the event fertilization does occur.

Abstinence

Of course, we have to mention the tried-and-true method of birth control:  abstinence. Not having any form of sexual intercourse is the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy … or STD.

Which birth control methods prevent STDs?

So – now that you know all of the ways to prevent contraception, which ones prevent STDs? Stay tuned tomorrow to find out…

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