Babalwa is thinking about becoming sexually active with her boyfriend, but hasn't given much thought to contraception options. Find out more about her dilemma by watching the animation above. What contraception do you think she should use for what she needs?
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Fast facts: Options for contraception
The good news is that there are lots of different ways that you can prevent pregnancy these days. However, that does mean that deciding what contraception to use has become a bit confusing.
- Remember that to get pregnant a sperm (from the man) must fertilise an egg (in a woman).
- If you’re having sex with someone of the opposite sex, and aren’t looking to get pregnant, it’s important that you use contraception.
- Contraception is both partners’ concern, so it’s a good idea to talk about your options together.
- When deciding what contraception to use, you might want to think about: whether you want to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as pregnancy; how long-lasting you want it to be; and whether you think you will be able to remember to take your contraception.
- Condoms are very effective. They provide a physical barrier between the guy’s semen (cum) and the woman’s vagina. They are the only method of contraception that prevents both pregnancy and STIs including HIV.
- The contraceptive pill is a very effective form of contraception, taken by women. The pills contain hormones which prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the release of an egg). Contraceptive pills don’t offer protection from STIs.
- An implant is a very small tube (about four millimetres long) that is inserted just under the skin on a woman’s arm. It releases hormones that stop ovulation and prevent pregnancy. It can last up to four years, but doesn’t protect against STIs.
- Injections are like the pill and the implant – they stop ovulation through the use of hormones, preventing pregnancy. They don’t protect against STIs.
- Not all of these options are available everywhere, so talk to a local health professional you trust about the options where you are.
Ideas for discussion:
- Why do you think it’s important to talk about contraception options with your partner?
- What are some of the main things you’d want to discuss with your partner?
- What do you think are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each method of contraception?
- For you personally, what do you think would be the most important thing to look for in a method of contraception, and why?
- If you were to use a hormonal form of contraception (such as the implant, pill or injection) what could you do to protect yourself from STIs including HIV?
- Have you heard of any other ways to prevent pregnancy? Do you think they are effective, or are they just myths?
- What do you think might be some of the challenges in accessing contraceptives where you are? Do you have any ideas how to overcome those challenges?