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Questions & Facts – Family Planning

Questions

It’s essential to discuss family planning with your partner. Both of you need to agree about which contraceptive methods are best for you. By avoiding the subject, you’re increasing the chances of contracting STIs and unintended pregnancy.

All modern contraceptive methods are effective. There are different types of contraception: short-acting, long-acting, barrier method (condoms) and emergency contraception.

  • Long-acting methods include: an implant or an Intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Short-acting: birth control pills
  • Barrier method: male and female condoms
  • Emergency contraception: morning-after pill

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. People who have the virus are HIV-positive and capable of passing the virus on to their sexual partners, through the exchange of bodily fluids. A mother can pass it on to child in-utero or through breastfeeding. HIV weakens the immune system, which affects the body’s ability to fight common illnesses such as a cold. HIV can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) for which there is currently no cure.

You will NOT always know that you have an STI. Often, symptoms can be missed or mistaken and sometimes you may show no symptoms at all. Everyone who has sex is at risk of contracting an STI, and you should be tested regularly. You should be checked if you have:

  • Unusual genital/anal discharge
  • Genital sores, growths or lumps
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Painful sex or bleeding after sex
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Genital pain
  • Irregular bleeding between periods

Symptoms of an STI may be intermittent; this does not mean that the infection is cured. Also, having one STI can make you more vulnerable to other infections. The risks of leaving an STI untreated can vary from pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, infertility in both men and women and even chronic, debilitating secondary infections.

Emergency contraception can be taken within five days of unprotected sex, but the earlier you take it, the more effective it will be. Also, consider STI testing if you’re worried about being exposed to HIV or STIs.

Facts

  1. Using contraceptive methods lowers the risk of STI transference and unintended pregnancies.
  2. Condoms (male and female) are the only types of contraception that can prevent sexually-transmitted infections (STIs).
  3. You can get pregnant if you’re on your period.
  4. You must take birth control pills, at approximately the same time, every day.
  5. No method of contraception is 100% effective.
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