Grand Valley State University Women's Center
There are many options for contraception. Abstinence from intercourse and oral sex is the most effective way to avoid pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). However, for those who choose to engage in sexual activity, there are many different types of contraception available.
Condoms are an easy and effective way to prevent STD and unplanned pregnancy. There are latex condoms for males and female condoms. A female condom will stay in place even if a guy loses his erection, has an external ring that may stimulate the clitoris, can be used for anal sex, and can be used for people who have a latex allergy.
Other barrier methods are also available that help prevent pregnancy but not the transmission of disease. For example, contraceptive sponges, diaphragms, and cervical caps can be used to prevent pregnancy, but they should be used with latex condom in order to protect against STDs (National Women’s Health Resource Center, 2006)
Females have a large variety of options for hormonal therapy. The most common choices are birth control pills that prevent pregnancy, but DO NOT prevent contraction of STIs. Other forms of hormonal treatments include contraceptive patches, shots, and vaginal rings (NWHRC, 2006). Different options include intrauterine device (IUD), which is inserted into the uterus to release hormones that prevent pregnancy. Hormonal contraceptives also provide benefits beyond blocking pregnancy. They can help alleviate menstrual cramps, heavy bleeding, acne, and ovarian cysts (NWHRC, 2006).
Plan B, the Morning After Pill, or Emergency Contraceptive is a way to prevent pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sexual intercourse. However, it is not as effective as birth control that is taken on a regular basis or condoms. Like other forms of contraceptives, emergency contraceptive does not protect against STDs. Plan B can be bought over the counter without a prescription from most pharmacies by people 18 and older (NWHRC, 2006).
Contact your health professional to decide which method is best for your lifestyle.
Campus Health Services
10383A 42nd Ave.
(operated by Metro Health)
425 Cherry Street SE Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Kent County Health Department
700 Fuller Ave. NE Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Muskegon County Health Department
209 E. Apple, Suite D104, Muskegon, MI 49442
GVSU Family Health Center
72 Sheldon Blvd. S.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Page last modified July 5, 2011