What Works/What Doesn’t

Preventing Pregnancy

Drag Factor

Abstinence

There isn’t one. 70% of teens who have had sex wish they had waited.

Male Condom

Condoms can leak or break if not put on or taken off correctly or if the wrong size. Oil-based lubricants (like Vaseline or massage oil) should not be used because these kinds of lubricants can cause condoms to break during sex.

The Pill

Offers no protection against STDs including HIV. Some women have nausea, headaches and changes in their moods. If you miss 2 or more daily pills during a cycle you should either abstain from sex or use a back-up method of contraception (like a condom). Each type of pill is different, so check with your doctor to learn more.

The Shot

Offers no protection against STDs including HIV. Some women have weight gain and irregular periods. This shot can cause bone loss, which is often reversible after a woman stops using the shot.

Diaphragm

Won’t effectively protect against most STDs including HIV, and can increase the risk of urinary tract infections & toxic shock syndrome. Can be messy (from the spermicide) and clumsy to use. It needs to stay in place for 6 hours after sex and be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Cervical Cap

Won’t effectively protect against most STDs including HIV and can increase the risk of urinary tract infections and toxic shock syndrome. It only comes in 4 sizes so it may not be an option for everyone. Also, it needs to stay in place for 6 hours after having sex and then needs to be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

The Patch

Offers no protection against STDs including HIV. Some women have skin reactions, nausea, headaches and breast discomfort. If the patch is removed for more than a day, or a woman is late starting a new patch, she should either not have sex or use a back-up method of contraception (like a condom) until she has used a new patch for 7 days.

The Ring (NuvaRing)

Offers no protection against STDs including HIV. Some women have vaginal discomfort, nausea, headaches and breast tenderness. If a woman misses 3 or more hours during a cycle, she should either not have sex or use a back-up method of contraception (such as a condom) until she has used a new ring for 7 days.

IUD

Doesn’t protect against STDs including HIV. Some women have spotting between periods, heavier periods, and increased cramping.

Implant

Doesn’t protect against STDs including HIV; may cause irregular periods, nausea,headaches, and weight gain. Some women may be able to see the rod under the skin and rarely can get a skin infection at the insertion site. Plus, having the rod removed can be a hassle.

Emergency Contraceptive

Doesn’t protect against STDs including HIV. May cause nausea. If a woman does not get her period within 3 weeks, she should take a pregnancy test.

Fertility Awareness (Doesn’t Work Well)

Doesn’t protect against STDs including HIV. Predicting when a woman will ovulate is not easy, and sperm can live inside a woman’s body for days. Women have to keep careful track of their vaginal mucus, menstrual cycle, and/or body temperature beginning several months before they can start relying on this method. Because it’s difficult to accurately track fertility patterns, there are a lot of accidental pregnancies.

Spermicide (Doesn’t Work Well)

Doesn’t protect against STDs including HIV. Some spermicides such as nonoxynol-9 have been found to irritate the vaginal walls making some more susceptible to STD and HIV infection. Follow the directions carefully: this may mean waiting a while to have sex until after inserting the spermicide so that it can dissolve and spread. You must insert more spermicide each time you have sex.

Withdrawal (Doesn’t Work Well)

Doesn’t protect against STDs including HIV. Because sperm can live in pre-ejaculate (pre-cum), even if a man withdraws early, there is a chance of getting pregnant. Also, it may be a stressful method to rely on–women have to rely on men to get it right; and men have to remember to withdraw prior to ejaculation.

Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are the ONLY method that protects sexually active people from both STDs and pregnancy.

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