There are many things to consider when deciding which contraception option is right for you.
To effectively prevent sexually transmitted infections, choose abstinence or barrier methods (e.g.: condoms or a dental dam).
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Abstaining from all types of sexual contact is the only way to be 100 percent protected from pregnancy and STIs.
Condoms are the most common form of barrier contraceptives.
They can only be used once, but are up to 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and may help to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
There are many different brands and options for condoms on the market now, and they are easy to get, making them a very common method. Other barrier methods are female condoms and spermicides, but these tend to be less effective.
Condoms can break and tear, which decreases effectiveness. Watch this video from Planned Parenthood for in-depth information about using condoms effectively.
There are various forms of hormonal contraception available, including pills, shots, patches, implants and rings.
Hormonal birth control methods work to alter the hormone patterns in women to prevent pregnancy. Hormonal methods are generally 91-99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and are most effective when used correctly. For example, taking the birth control pill at the same time every day makes it the most effective.
Hormonal birth control methods do not prevent STIs.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and intrauterine systems (IUSs) are small devices placed inside the uterus by a physician.
Highly effective forms of long-term birth control, these devices and systems are more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. The IUD can stay in place for up to 10 years, and IUSs can stay in place for up to five years.
IUD and IUS do not prevent STIs.
The Fertility Awareness Method is when women choose to abstain from sexual intercourse when they are fertile.
There are many ways to predict ovulation (temperature, mucus, calendar), but in order for this to be effective, it takes a lot of work. Knowing your menstrual cycle can possibly be an effective way to prevent pregnancy, however, you must have a regular menstrual cycle and monitor it closely.
With average use, this method has a 25 percent failure rate in preventing pregnancy. The Fertility Awareness Method does not protect against STIs.
Emergency contraception is birth control that can be used to prevent pregnancy up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. It is safe and effective.
Purchase Emergency Contraception
You can purchase emergency contraception without a prescription at local pharmacies. Call ahead to be sure they have it in stock and ask for it at the pharmacy. Some insurances cover the cost of emergency contraception with a prescription from your primary care provider. You can check with your insurance first and make an appointment at the Student Health Clinic. Cost for emergency contraception varies from $30 to $60.
The following resources are used as reference for Vandal Health Education sites.
- Idaho Health Department
- Center’s for Disease Control
- Mayo Clinic
- Planned Parenthood
- The Naked Truth
- American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology
- PubMed Health
- American College Health Association
- National Center for Victims of Crime
- Go Ask Alice
- University of Arizona Health Education
- Brown University Health Education
- University of Georgia Student Health Center
- University of Texas at Austin Counseling & Mental Health Center
- Oregon State University Student Health