Monday, November 5, 2007

Birth Control At A Glance

Many methods of birth control and contraception are available today. There are many options. Unfortunately, most of these choices offer little or no protection against sexually transmitted infections (sexually transmitted diseases, STDs), especially against HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS.

For some individuals, economic considerations dictate their choice of contraceptive method. Abstinence is 100% effective and costs nothing, but may not always be a popular choice. "Natural" methods cost essentially nothing (if one does not use test kits or electronic monitors) but they require considerable discipline to be effective. Barrier methods, such as spermicides and condoms, are affordable to most people and can be effective if they are used consistently and correctly. The hormonal methods, such as "the pill," are highly effective but their cost can add up if they must be purchased and regularly repeated.

The choice of a particular method of contraceptive also depends on a person's age, health, and personal situation. For example, behavioral methods (fertility awareness or withdrawal), IUDs, and tubal ligation are not methods recommended for teenagers. A vasectomy or tubal ligation are not appropriate for a man or woman who wishes to have children in the future because surgical reversal is not guaranteed. Certain medical conditions can rule out a woman using a hormone-based method of birth control.

No comments: