Teenzone has written various articles on the topic of sex and HIV & Aids, namely the myths. This Valentine’s Day we thought it was a appropriate to address the next topic: contraception. It is important here to stress that Teenzone does not encourage teenagers to have sex, although we are not naive to think that it will not occur just because we do not encourage it. Read up on our previous article. Both Part 1: Sex Myths and Part 2: HIV & Aids Myths are equally important.
So, here we go. The first form of contraception you are bound to think of is a condom. There are other forms of contraception, probably more than you are aware of. Unfortunately, a female (in a heterosexual relationship) is often solely responsible for dealing with the contraception part of a sexual relationship. There are talks of a male ‘pill’, but this revolutionary step is only now in its trial period. So, there will be a male ‘pill’ in the future. This step will be revolutionary indeed but there are many social problems to overcome before men can equally be counted on when it comes to contraception. Unwanted pregnancy is often associated with socio-economic problems. Let’s face it, most of the contraception methods we will mention are expensive to say the least. Although, that’s not the only problem we’re talking about. Men are…difficult. Times have changed in terms of gender expectations but Trump (and he’s supporters) is also an example of how things have not changed. There are many societal expectations that still need to be deconstructed. We can carry on ranting about societal expectations but we’ll save you the preach.
Effective condoms are made of latex or polyurethane. When unrolled, the condom looks like a deflated balloon. A condom prevents fluids from coming into contact with one another. Fluids that can cause pregnancy but also infect you with an STI such as HIV & Aids. A condom is put onto the penis before the penis comes into contact with the vagina, mouth, or anus. Condoms are highly effective – if used correctly – in preventing infection of HIV. It also protects you from getting infected by STIs such as Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis, which are transmitted when infected semen or vaginal or other body fluids contact mucosal surfaces. A condom also provides some protection against STIs such as genital herpes, syphilis, chancroid, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
Advantages of using condoms are:
- Condoms are safe and effective at preventing both pregnancy and some infections when used at each act of sex.
- Condoms are cheap and don’t require a prescription.
- Condoms do not provide complete protection against genital herpes, syphilis, chancroid, or HPV because the STIs can be transmitted across infected skin surfaces not covered by the condom.
- When putting the condom on the penis you must avoid tearing the condom or putting a hole in it with fingernails, a ring, or anything sharp.
- YOU CAN’T USE OIL BASED LUBRICANTS, such as Vaseline or sun tan oil. These products can cause a hole in a condom.
- The man must pull out soon after ejaculation or the condom could fall off and spill or be left in the vagina.
- Some people are sensitive or allergic to latex.
- You cannot reuse a condom!
2. Birth Control Pills (Otherwise known as The Pill)
There are types of Birth Control Pills. The first type is the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pills. This pill has two hormones which stop you from ovulating (losing an egg). It also inhibits movement of sperm. Nearly 8% of women that use ‘The Pill’ might fall pregnant within their first year of taking The Pill. Pills alone do not protect against STIs and HIV.
- Pills decrease a woman’s risk for cancer of the ovaries and cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer). Pills also lower a woman’s chances of having benign breast masses.
- Pills significantly decrease a woman’s menstrual cramps and pain.
- Pills reduce menstrual blood loss and anemia.
- Pills reduced PMS symptoms.
- Pills can reduce prevalence of acne by up to two-thirds.
- Pills suppress endometriosis.
- Pills do not protect from HIV/AIDS or other STIs. Use a condom for added protection.
- A woman must remember to take the pill at the same time, every day.
- Nausea and/or spotting are the two problems women may have the first month on pills.
- Missed periods or very light periods. Pills tend to make periods very short and light.
- Some women experience headaches or depression.
- Serious complications such as blood clots are rare, but do occur.
- Pills can be quite expensive and usually require a prescription.
- Pills users with dysplasia who also have HPV (human papillomavirus) have a three- to four-fold higher risk of developing cervical cancer.
- Pill users who smoke or have hypertension are at significantly higher risk of suffering a stroke, compared to other pill users. Pill users who smoke are also at significantly higher risk of a heart attack, compared to pill users who do not smoke and to other women.
3. Cervical Cap
A cervical cap is a small cap made out of latex, which is placed on your cervix by a doctor. You, as the user, put spermicide (which destroys the sperm) in the cap and then places the cap up into her vagina and onto her cervix (the opening of the womb). Suction keeps the cap in place. The cap is replaced every year. Women should get a new cap yearly. 16% of women will experience an accidental pregnancy in the first year. Failure rates are significantly higher if the cervical cap is used after a woman has had a child. Use a condom for additional protection against HIV and other STIs.
- It is easy to carry and can be put into place an hour before sexual intercourse.
- It works continuously for 48 hours.
- Your partner also doesn’t have to know you are using it.
- Is not the best protection against HIV and other STIs.
- It may interrupt sex.
- It increases a woman’s risk for inflammation of the surface of the cervix.
- If left in too long, increases slightly a woman’s risk for a very serious infection called toxic shock syndrome. Don’t leave your cervical cap in for more than 48 hours.
- Latex may cause irritation or a woman may be allergic to it.
- You need fresh spermicidal cream or jelly each time you use your cap.
To be continued…
By: Kriszti Bottyan