How to prevent pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

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Last week, I spoke about the myths of sex which can be found via https://srhhub.blogspot.com/2018/09/sex-and-pleasure-10-shocking-lies.html?m=1 where I highlighted 10 myths, things believed to be true but in fact are not true.

A lot of the myths is centered around prevention of pregnancy. So, I will be talking about the true and correct ways in which we can prevent not just pregnancy, but most importantly, sexually transmitted diseases.

1. Sexual Abstinence: This simply means staying away from all forms of sexual intercourse. Now by all forms, I mean oral sex, anal sex, kissing, smooching, etc. This are all sexual activities. Although, we have two types of abstinence which could be temporary or permanent.

  • Temporary Abstinence: This is staying away from sexual activities for a period of time which could be due to school engagements, health reasons etc.
  • Permanent Abstinence: This involves staying away from sexual activities until marriage.

Advantages

  • No risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. 100% sure.
  • Improves self esteem and self-worth
  • It has No side effects 

Tips that enhance one’s ability to abstain

  • Avoid putting yourself in situations where it will be hard to stick to abstinence.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs as this could cloud your judgement.
  • Get persons who can support your decision.
  • Be clear with your partner on sexual limits.
  • Explore out door activities you would enjoy as much. Things happen inside the inner room oh

Abstinence has no disadvantage

2. Condom: This is a barrier device used during sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. There are two types of condoms which are the male and female condom.

A. Male Condom: This is made of latex material and is worn over an erect penis like a second skin. It holds the sperm released during ejaculation to prevent spilling into the vagina during sexual intercourse. When used correctly, condoms can be highly effective.

Advantages

  • Easily available 
  • No serious side effects
  • offers dual protection against STIs/HIV and unplanned pregnancy
  • Non-prescriptive 

Disadvantages

  • It must be used every time sexual intercourse takes place.
  • Some people are allergic to latex in the condom.
  • Poor storage can affect quality and effectiveness.

B. Female Condom: This is made of synthetic material and is worn in the vagina. It has an outer fixed ring (rim) and an inner mobile ring.

Advantages

  • It provides dual protection against STIs/ HIV and unplanned pregnancy if used correctly.
  • A woman may be able to use condom, if her partner refuses to use male condom.
  • It can be inserted in advance of sexual intercourse.

Disadvantages

  • It may have a hole and leak, thus a higher failure rate in preventing pregnancy 
  • It must be used every time sexual intercourse takes place.

3. Pills: These are tablets containing synthetic hormones; oestrogen and progesterone normally produced by the woman’s body. The pills prevent ovulation so that the ovaries do not release eggs and pregnancy cannot occur.One pill must be taken every day at the same time, irrespective of sexual intercourse taking place.Types:

  • Progesterone only pill (POP): contains progesterone and are taken daily.
  • Combined oral contraceptives (COC): contain oestrogen and progesterone
  • Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP)

Advantages

  • They are safe
  • A woman can return to fertility ( her ability to get pregnant ) when she stops taking the pill. Pills do not make women infertile.
  • They are safe for breastfeeding women and their babies.
  • They do not change users sexual drive.

Disadvantages
It may cause the following:

  • Changes in monthly menstrual patterns
  • Headaches
  • Weight change
  • Breast tenderness

Please note that pills protect against pregnancy only. It does not prevent STIs.
We continue next week on the ways we can prevent pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections  (STIs).
Source: NURHI 2 Life Planning Manual
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