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Safe Sex & Contraception Guide

There are many different contraceptive methods available, and different methods suit different people at different times in ther lives.

This section will help you and your partner to decide on the method of contraception is most suited to you both. It shows most of the available methods, explains how each method works, how effective each method of contraception is and the main advantages and disadvantages of each contraceptive method.

You can ask your GP, practise nurse or family planning clinic for more information on any method you are interested in.

Using Contraception?

How effective any contraceptive is depends on how carefully and consistently you use the method. If 100 sexually active women dont use any form of contraception 80 to 90 of them will become pregnant in the year. The methods shown in this section are divided into two types:

# NO user failure: do not depend on you remembering to take or use contraception.

These are long acting methods and include: Contraceptive injection :: Implant :: Intrauterine system :: Intrauterine device :: Male and female sterilisation

# User failure: Methods you have to use and think about regularly or every time you have sex. For these methods to be effective you must use them according to the instructions given.

These methods include: Contraceptive patch :: Combined pill :: Progestogen-only pill :: Male condom :: Female condom :: Diaphragm :: Natural Family Planning

Some facts about avoiding pregnancy

There are a lot of myths about how to avoid pregnancy. These are the facts. A women can still get pregnant:

# If it is the first time she has had sex. # If she does not have an orgasm. # If a man pulls out her vagina before he comes. # If she has sex when she has a period. # If she is not fully breastfeeding. # If she douches (squirts fluids from the vagina). This can be harmful to women. # Whatever posistion the couple has sex in.

Emergency contraception

If you have had sex without using contraception or think your method of contraception might have failed there are two emergency methods you can use.

# Emergency hormonal pills Must be taken up to three days (72 hours) after sex. They are more effective, the earlier after sex they are taken.

# An IUD Must be fitted up to five days after sex, or up to five days after the earliest you could of released an egg (ovulation).

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Most methods of contraception do not protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Male and female condoms, when used correctly and consistently, can help protect against sexually transmitted infections. Diaphragms and caps may also protect against some sexually transmitted infections. If you can, avoid using condoms containing Nonoxynol 9 (spermicidally lubricated), as this does not protect against HIV and may even increase the risk of infection.

Contraception questions & Answers

Q. How do i find out about contraception services? A. Contraception is free for men and women through the National Health Service (NHS). Young people can call Brook on 0800 0185 023 or Sexwise on 0800 282 930

Q. What if i become pregnant? A. No method of contraception is perfect. If you think you could be pregnant you should see your doctor or practise nurse as soon as possible to find out. They can talk to you about good pregnancy care, such as taking folic acid and stopping smoking if you want to be pregnant, or talk to you about what to do if you do not want to be pregnant (Abortion).

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