Microsoft word - n_bc-brief_2013.docx

Birth Control Methods in Brief
Adapted 2013 by the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence from the CDC web page
and additional sources. Links to brief videos available on
YouTube from Planned Parenthood Federation of America (2010) are also provided.

Over-the-Counter Methods
Condoms (male and female) are the only form of contraception that also prevent sexually
transmitted diseases (STDs) like gonorrhea and chlamydia, as well as HIV, the virus that
causes AIDS. To prevent pregnancy and protect health, combine a condom with a highly
effective pregnancy prevention method from your health care provider.
Male Condom
Worn on the penis, a male condom prevents the exchange of body fluids. Condoms are the
only birth control method that also reduces the risk of STDs and HIV. It's important to know
how to use condoms correctly, and to use them correctly every time you have sex. No visit
to a health care provider is required; condoms are available at drug stores, grocery stores,
and convenience stores without a prescription. Male condoms are 82–98% effective at
preventing pregnancy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2013).
Planned Parenthood informational video--Condoms:
Planned Parenthood condom demonstration video--How to Use a Condom:
Female Condom
A female condom is a polyurethane pouch with flexible rings at both ends. It fits inside the
vagina to help prevent pregnancy and to protect against STDs and HIV. It can be inserted
up to eight hours before sex. Female and male condoms should not be used at the same
time because friction can cause them to break. A prescription is not required. Although
female condoms cost more than male condoms, some organizations (community
organizations, family planning sites, and health clinics) may offer free female condoms (ACT
for Youth, 2011a). Used correctly, female condoms are 79–95% effective at preventing
pregnancy (CDC, 2013).
Planned Parenthood informational video--The Female Condom:
Emergency Contraception Pills
Emergency contraception (EC) is birth control that can prevent pregnancy after you've had
unprotected sex. The sooner you take EC pills -- ideally within the first 12 hours -- the more
likely they are to work. However, they can still work if used up to five days after unprotected sex.
Women age 17 years and older should be able to get EC from a pharmacist without a
prescription, but should be prepared to show proof of age and pay the cost (about $40-$50).
Those younger than 17 or unable to pay the full cost can call a family planning provider. Note
that at this July 2013 update, EC is expected to soon be available “off the shelf” without age
restrictions. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that EC be purchased in
advance to have on hand for immediate use in an emergency. EC does not protect against STDs/HIV. (Sources: ACT for Youth, 2011b; American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012; CDC, 2013, Office of Population Research, 2013.). Emergency Contraception status, news: Planned Parenthood informational video--The Morning After Pill Prescribed Methods

All prescription methods:
• Require a visit to a health care provider. • May have side effects, which may be different from person to person. • Are not for everyone: what works for one person may not work for another. • Do not protect against STDs/HIV – always include condoms to prevent infections!
Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)
LARC methods include the contraceptive implant and the IUD, and are the most effective
methods we have for pregnancy prevention. The American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists recommends these methods for pregnancy prevention in teenagers.
Inserted under the skin in the upper arm, the implant is a small, flexible rod that contains
hormone. It must be inserted and removed by a health care provider. One implant will last
for three years. It is highly (99%) effective at preventing pregnancy. It does not protect
against STDs/HIV. (Source: CDC, 2013).
Planned Parenthood YouTube video--What Is Implanon, the Birth Control Implant?
Intrauterine Device - IUD
The intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, T-shaped device that a health care provider inserts
into the uterus. There are two kinds. The Copper T IUD can stay in place for up to 10 years,
and the Mirena (Levonorgestrel) IUD can stay in place up to 5 years. They are easily
removed by a health care provider. Both types of IUD are over 99% effective at preventing
pregnancy. They do not protect against STDs/HIV. (Source: CDC, 2013).
Planned Parenthood YouTube video--How Does an IUD Prevent Pregnancy?
Emergency Contraception IUD
Another option for emergency contraception is insertion of the Copper T IUD within seven
days of unprotected sex. This type of EC is 99% effective, and has the additional advantage
of becoming a highly effective regular method of birth control. It does not protect against
STDs/HIV. (Source: CDC, 2013).
Other Hormonal Methods
The shot is a hormonal injection given every three months by a health care provider. It is
highly effective (94–99%) at preventing pregnancy. (Source: CDC, 2013).
Planned Parenthood YouTube video--What Is Depo-Provera, the Birth Control Shot?

The ring is a two-inch flexible circle that is inserted into the vagina where it releases
hormones to prevent pregnancy. The ring is worn for three weeks each month, followed by a
one-week break, then a new ring is put in. It is 91–99% effective at preventing pregnancy. It
does not protect against STDs/HIV. (Source: CDC, 2013).
Planned Parenthood YouTube video--What Is NuvaRing, the Birth Control Vaginal Ring?
Worn on the skin, the patch is another hormonal method of birth control. A patch is worn for
three out of every four weeks, with a new patch put on each week. On the fourth week no
patch is worn. The patch is 91–99% effective at preventing pregnancy. It does not protect
against STDs/HIV. (Source: CDC, 2013).
Planned Parenthood YouTube video: What Is the Birth Control Patch?
Oral contraceptives are pills that slightly alter a woman's hormone levels. For oral
contraceptives to work, the woman must take a pill at the same time each day. The pill is
91–99% effective at preventing pregnancy. It does not protect against STDs/HIV. (Source:
CDC, 2013).
Planned Parenthood YouTube video: Birth Control Pills:
Diaphragm or Cervical Cap
Diaphragms and cervical caps are cups that a woman inserts within the vagina to cover the
opening of the uterus (cervix). Like condoms, these are barrier methods: they prevent sperm
from reaching the egg. However, unlike condoms, they allow semen to enter the woman’s
body, so they do not protect against STDs/HIV. Diaphragms and cervical caps must be fitted
by a health care provider. Used with spermicide, the diaphragm is 84–94% effective at
preventing pregnancy. (Source: CDC, 2013).

ACT for Youth. (2011a). ACT youth network: Female condoms. Retrieved from
ACT for Youth. (2011b). ACT youth network: Emergency contraception. Retrieved from
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2012). Policy statement: Emergency contraception. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2012, October). Adolescents and long acting reversible contraception: Implants and intrauterine devices. Committee on Adolescent Health Care, Committee Opinion 539. Obstetrics and Gynecology 120(4). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Reproductive health: Contraception. Retrieved from Office of Population Research. (2013). The emergency contraception website. Retrieved from the Princeton University website: Planned Parenthood Federation of America. (2010). YouTube: Birth control videos. [Links for individual videos are provided above. For full list see link below.]


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