Birth control and STI Risk


Key points to remember:

  • Birth control methods that protect against both pregnancy and STIs are limited to external (male) and internal (female) condoms.
  • It is not recommended to use spermicides for those at high risk of STIs as it may cause irritation and increase the risk of transmission.
  • Certain forms of birth control that contain progestin may decrease the risk of certain STIs but may also increase the risk of others.

What are STIs?

STIs, also known as sexually transmitted infections, are illnesses that are passed through sexual contact. These include HIV, HPV, herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis. They can be passed through various types of sexual activities that involve the exchange of sexual fluids or genital contact. Some STIs are curable, while others are lifelong infections that can cause permanent damage to the body. It's important to take care of one's own and their partner's health by getting tested for STIs as they may not have obvious symptoms.

It is important to know that not all birth control methods protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Only external (male) and internal (female) condoms provide protection against STIs. Spermicides, whether used alone or with condoms, should be avoided by individuals at high risk of STIs as they may cause genital irritation and increase the likelihood of transmission. Some forms of birth control, like progestin, may possibly decrease the risk of certain STIs while increasing the risk of others.

The takeaway

It is important to note that even if you are comfortable and satisfied with your chosen method of hormonal birth control, using condoms and other barrier methods are the most effective ways to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).