Pros and Contraceptives

In part two of our series, it’s time to get informed about the best way for you to protect yourself.

Words by Maddie Currie

Let’s face the facts: A lot of people are having sex way before they want kids. According to Planned Parenthood, the average age is 17, but that’s none of my business. If you are having sex or plan on starting, there are some things that should probably be cleared up so you and your partner can avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy. Sex education in our state can make things a lot more confusing than they need to be: schools are not required to have a sex education curriculum or to even mention a condom. So, here are the need-to-know smart and safe sex basics for those who need to know.

INTRAUTERINE DEVICE (IUD)

What is it? Small devices inserted deep into the uterus that can prevent pregnancy for three to 12 years. You can either get a hormonal IUD that releases progestin into your body or a copper IUD that blocks sperm from ever entering the uterus.

Where can I get it? They require a healthcare professional to insert and remove them, so you have to go to the doctor to get one.

Cost? IUDs are usually covered by health insurance, they can cost as much as $1,300 without insurance.

STI protection? Nope, so they should be combined with other contraceptive methods.

ARM IMPLANT

What is it? Small plastic rod inserted into a woman’s arm that releases progestin for up to five years.

Where can I get it? They require a healthcare professional to insert and remove them, so you have to go to the doctor to get one.

Cost? They’re covered by most health insurance but without it, they can cost as much as $1,300 for insertion and $300 for removal.

STI protection? Nope, so they should be combined with other contraceptive methods.

SPERMICIDE

What is it? A chemical that slows sperm. Comes in gel, foam, or cream form.

Where can I get it? Most drug stores.

Cost? About $8-$15 a tube.

STI protection? Nope, so they should be combined with other contraceptive methods.

PILLS

What is it? Birth control pills are taken once daily to prevent ovulation. Emergency contraceptives pills are taken within three days of having unprotected sex.

Where can I get it? You need a prescription to get birth control pills but you can get emergency contraceptive pills over the counter at most drug stores.

Cost? Birth control pills are covered by most insurance companies but without coverage can cost up to $50 a month. Emergency contraceptive pills are not covered by insurance and can
cost anywhere from $15-$50, depending on the brand.

STI protection? Nope, so they should be combined with other contraceptive methods.

VAGINAL RINGS

What is it? A small plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina and is changed out every month.

Where can I get it? You need a prescription from your doctor, a nurse or your local Planned Parenthood.

Cost? With most insurance plans, the ring is free but without coverage can cost up to $200 per ring.

STI protection? Nope, so they should be combined with other

contraceptive methods.

MALE CONDOMS

What is it? A small pouch made of latex that covers the penis during sex and discarded after one use.

Where can I get it? You can find them at most drugstores, grocery stores, gas stations or for free at Planned Parenthood.

Cost? $6 for a box of three, but it really depends on the brand and where you buy them.

STI protection? Yes! This is one of the most effective ways to prevent STIs!

FEMALE CONDOMS

What is it? Small plastic pouches inserted into the vagina to keep sperm from entering the uterus.

Where can I get it? You can find them at most pharmacies and grocery stores.

Cost? About $2-$5 each.

STI protection? Yes! Female condoms are just as effective at preventing STIs as 

male condoms!

INJECTIONS

What is it? An injection of progestin that’s administered every three months.

Where can I get it? You have to go to the doctor to get the shots because they have to be administered by a healthcare professional.

Cost? The shots are covered by most health insurance but without coverage can cost up to $150.

STI protection? Nope, so they should be combined with other contraceptive methods.«