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Women's Health Education Program Scholars' Projects

Methods of Contraception

WHEP Scholar Charmie Mehta

WHEP Scholar Charmie Mehta
Drexel University College of Medicine, Class of 2022

Whether it is for birth control, STD/HIV prevention, a medical condition or one of many other valid reasons, various methods of contraception remain heavily used by women and men who both are and aren’t sexually active. Throughout the years, while still a controversial topic in many areas of the world, new and more efficient methods of contraception have been created and there continue to be uptrends and downtrends of different ones. There are several different aspects to consider about birth control when deciding on the best form for each individual, and these discussions should be had with a patient’s primary care provider, ob/gyn, family members, friends and anyone they feel they can confide in. There is a wide socioeconomic gap in access to and acceptance of using methods of contraception, some of which will also be explored in this paper.

Some of the most important aspects to consider when deciding on a method of contraception include: effectiveness, safety, availability and pricing and past medical history. If all of these facets are discussed and questions answered by the appropriate qualifying provider, we can ensure informed consent was given by the patient. Many patients are unaware of the multiple options for birth control and also how to utilize them effectively. Patients should also be made aware of the various risks and side effects of these different medications so they know what to prepare for and possibly adjust for. Therefore, an in-depth discussion of each of the types of contraception and their benefits versus risks is extremely helpful in making a comfortable and informed decision with the patients.

Another important consideration in regards to having this discussion is that some of the types of contraception simultaneously provide protection from STDs (such as chlamydia and gonorrhea) and HIV, while some do not. Educating the patient about which types of contraception will protect them from these diseases is very important, as it may apply greatly to their individual and sexual lifestyles and prevent them from getting diseases that may affect them for the rest of their lives. Some of these diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus, can even cause significant immunocompromise and secondary disease. For these patients, it may be necessary to use these forms of protection or add them to their usual birth control method to ensure protection from diseases.

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