Hi, I’m Barbie — your host here at Safersex. The most important facet of safe sex entails blocking the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). Several methods serve to both protect against STD’s as well as act as a contraceptive. A salient example within this class is the condom. Conversely, some contraceptive methods do nothing when it comes to protection against STD’s — an example here is the pill. Yet other forms of prevention against STD’s have nothing to do with avoiding pregnancy — dental dams are a good example here. The main point is that not all contraceptives serve to protect you against STD’s. Furthermore, various contraceptives have different risks associated with them. This begs the question if you are using a safe contraceptive.
Many couples use condoms as their preferred safe contraceptive, and after billions of uses condoms have proven to be both an effective and safe contraceptive. The downside to condoms is that many men feel that they serve to diminish the sexual experience. A plethora of women rely upon birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. As indicated, the pill provides no protection whatsoever from the spread of STD’s. Although the pill is considered to be generally safe, many experience various side effects — and in conjunction with other behaviors (including smoking) the pill can present additional risks.
A new class of vaginal ring contraceptives have been introduced, and initial clinical studies have shown them to be a safe contraceptive, but some claim otherwise. Many women are waiting until more data is available before trying these new options which include the popular NuvaRing. Some women prefer to use a diaphragm, and they have proven safe although some studies have shown they are only 85% effective. A positive point about diaphragms is that they do provided a limited degree of protection against transmission of the HIV virus.
The most important thing to remember is that even if you are on the pill, you still need to take other precautions to ensure safe sex. A safe contraceptive does not translate to safety from STD’s. If any of you have other questions, feel free to ask.
Keeping safe as always,