What are contraceptives (birth control)?

Contraceptives can help prevent pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

What forms of contraceptives/birth control are there?

  • Male condoms are the most widely-available contraceptive. When used properly, they minimize the chances of transmitting an STI as well. You can buy condoms at all pharmacies, most convenience stores, and online. Health clinics also offer free condoms. Female condoms serve these same purposes and can be found at pharmacies, sex shops and health clinics.
  • Birth control pills prevent women from ovulating every month. Visit your doctor or any clinic about getting on the pill. Once you get a prescription, you can buy pills at any pharmacy.
  • The morning-after pill (Plan B) is a form of emergency contraceptive. It reverses the fertilization process up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex. You can buy it at your local pharmacy without a prescription. Learn more about it here.
  • Some other forms of contraceptives are barrier methods (diaphragms, spermicides), hormonal methods (Depo-Provera, the ring), and surgical methods (female and male sterilization).

Are contraceptives 100% effective?

No, most contraceptives are not 100% effective. Condoms have a 98% success rate, but they can sometimes break. Birth control pills might not be fully effective if you forget to take them on time. Despite all this, contraceptives are effective more than 90% of the time. It is important to know how to use contraceptives properly and regularly if you want to avoid any mishaps.