Birth control
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Birth control is any medically approved method of preventing pregnancy. Most methods of birth control do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. No method of birth control is considered 100% effective with the exception of abstinence.


The majority of birth control pills on the market, or other hormone based birth control, prevent pregnancy in a two step method. The first is the thickening of cervical mucous which makes it more difficult for the sperm to reach the egg for fertilization. The second step is the alteration is the uterus wall to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus to begin to grow into a fetus. Hormonal based contraceptives work this way including birth control pills, the mini pill, injected birth control, birth control patches, and hormone based birth control rings.

Hormone based birth control does not protect against sexually transmitted disease or HIV. There is a risk of side effects associated with birth control, including stroke. Smokers over the age of 35 are at a high risk for stroke when using a hormone based birth control method.


Condoms are considered 98% effective in preventing pregnancy and protecting against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Condoms prevent the semen from entering a woman’s body by trapping it in the tip of the condom. While condoms are not foolproof, they are considered one of the best forms of sexual protection because they significantly reduce the risk of transferring sexually transmitted diseases.
Birth control
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Condoms come in latex, polyurethane, lambskin, or “natural” varieties. Only latex and polyurethane are approved in protecting against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Lambskin and “natural” condoms are porous which allow infection from person to person. Condoms are available lubricated for vaginal or anal sexual activity and un-lubricated for oral sexual activity. Lubricating a condom with petroleum jelly, baby oil, lotions, massage oils, or any other petroleum based product as this weakens the condom and makes it ineffectual. Lubrication products specifically designed for sexual purposes that are safe for condom use are available, such as water based lubrications.


Female condoms, there is only one on the market, is considered to protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. There has not been adequate usage of this product to determine its effectiveness. Testing has been positive, and the female condom presents a new possibility in sexual protection. The female condom may be placed in the vagina up to 24 hours before use.

Withdrawal, a method of birth control which requires a man to remove his penis from inside a woman’s vagina before ejaculation, is not considered an effective method of birth control. Sperm that lands on the outside of the vagina can still impregnate a woman. Sperm can be release in fluids prior to ejaculation, which can cause pregnancy. The withdrawal method of birth control is unreliable and unpredictable and doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV.

The rhythm method of birth control is not considered effective birth control. The rhythm method requires the woman to keep track of her menstrual cycles to determine when she ovulates, and this presents the woman with a window of time that she is not likely to get pregnant. Many factors play into a woman’s moment of ovulation and can vary greatly from month to month. A woman can ovulate while she is menstruating. This means that it is possible to get pregnant while she is having a monthly menses. The rhythm method does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV.


Surgical methods of sterilization are birth control methods which are typically used by those who are positive they do not want children or want any more children. In men, a vasectomy is a simple procedure that prevents sperm from contaminating his ejaculation. A woman can have a tubal ligation, which permanently prevents ovulation. Surgical methods of birth control are considered 99% effective for pregnancy prevention but are not effective in protecting against sexually transmitted disease or HIV.

Birth control requires responsible and accurate abilities to follow the given directions exactly as prescribed. Birth control presents risks, including stroke, allergic reaction, and in some cases, infection. Each patient should choose birth control methods that are appropriate for them and present the fewest risks possible. The only form of birth control that is 100% effective in pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted diseases is abstinence.
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