CONTRACEPTION WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONTRACEPTION AVAILABLE? BARRIER METHODS OF CONTRACEPTION The male condom When the guy has an erection, he should put a condom over his penis before sex takes place. This stops sperm going into a girl’s vagina. It’s the responsibility of both partners to make sure condoms are available before sex takes place! Finger pointing after the fact is not going to help, especially if you find yourself pregnant or worse still, infected with HIV! The female condom Not as widely available as the male condom and more expensive, this is a rubber cap which is put inside the vagina before sex. It stops the sperm from getting through the cervix. Copper bearing intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs) One type of IUCD is put inside the uterus and can stay there for five years. The other can be kept for 10 years. IUCDs aren’t recommended for people who haven’t had children because their cervixes aren’t wideenough to fit them. Spermicides Spermicides come in sponge or pessaries (like tablets) which melt in the vagina, as well as in the form of foam which is squirted into the vagina. Used on their own, spermicides aren’t very effective, but paired with a male condom they provide excellent protection against pregnancy, HIV and other STIs. HORMONAL METHODS OF CONTRACEPTION For the best protection against pregnancy, HIV and other STIs, hormonal methods should be used at the same time as the male condom. The Contraceptive Pill One kind of pill named the Combined Pill has two hormones called oestrogen and progestogen. The other pill has only progestogen in it. Both types of Pills don’t stop periods and need to be taken at the same time everyday. If you forget to take your pill, vomit or have diarrhea, abstain from sex until you’ve taken one pill a day for seven days. More info is available at your nearest clinic. The nurse will show you how to take the Pill and what each colour-code means if it’s the multicoloured type. Some Pills contain higher levels of the two hormones and are more effective. They may however have side – effects, so ask questions to find out which is best for you. Morning After Pill: Ladies, the Morning After Pill is not just any ordinary contraceptive; it should only be used be used in emergencies, eg: should the condom break or if in a moment of recklessness, you forget to use a condom. You should take the Morning After Pill up to 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex. INJECTABLE HORMONAL CONTRACEPTIVES They cause some people to stop having periods and can either increase or suppress your appetite. Depo – Provera: It’s an injection you get every 11 to 13 weeks in either your buttock or upper arm. The Depo is less complicated than the Pill because you don’t have to take it every day. Nur – Isterate: This oil – based injectable is taken every eight weeks. If taken correctly, it works from the moment of injection until eight weeks later. WHERE CAN I GET CONTRACEPTION? You can access all contraception for FREE at government and pharmacy mini – clinics. They’re also available from private practices, but at a price. You can buy the Morning After Pill at pharmacies countrywide. Only doctors and nurses are licensed to give you contraception. Before handing it over, they need to provide you with contraception info and give you a thorough health assessment to check which contraception is best for you. WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF CONTRACEPTION? Very rarely, the Pill can cause side-effects like chest pain and/or a sharp one-sided head pain and weakness in the limbs on the opposite side to the head pain. If this happens or if you get blood clots, come off the contraception immediately and go to a doctor. Being on the Pill and smoking can cause a stroke, heart attack or deep vein thrombosis. If you’re put on any sort of medication, ask your doctor if it’ll affect your contraception. And you don’t have to stress – contraception DOES NOT destroy your ability to have children later in life. For more information on contraception and loveLife’s National Youth Friendly Clinics, call loveLife’s youth line on 0800 121 900. It’s free! This article was originally published in the April 2007 – Issue 46 edition of loveLife’s UNCUT Magazine. Words and picture: Thandiwe McCloy Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.