Women choose: convenience or prevention

Posted by: smilie on 09/16/2004 - 03:04 PM

Imagine being a female -- in what you think is a monogamous relationship -- going to your gynecologist for a routine checkup and your quarterly contraceptive injection. Now imagine that you've just been diagnosed with an STD. Think this would never happen? Think again.

Recent discoveries done by the National Institutes of Health, University of North Carolina and Johns Hopkins University show that females who use birth control through an injection are at a higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases than those who take it in another form -- either the patch, the birth control pill or the faithful condom.

A study released last week showed that the women receiving birth control injections were three times more likely to contract STDs than women who took birth control pills or used other methods.

Depo-Provera, also referred to as Depo, is an injectable method of birth control used once every three months, which uses a hormone similar to progesterone in order to reduce the risk of pregnancy.

While the recent study shows that users of Depo are more likely to acquire STD's than those who use other methods, a member of Planned Parenthood commented that every article that they have released in relation to Depo-Provera has clearly stated that "...the only protection against STD's includes latex and female condoms to help reduce the risk of infection."

Kristine, a junior in communication, who asked that her last name not be used, took Depo-Provera shots until recently.

"The side effects were just bothering me too much. There were quite a few times when I felt sick following the Depo injection, so I switched back to the pill. I sure do miss the convenience of the shots, but the pill just makes more sense for my lifestyle right now," Kristine said.

For some women, like Kristine, the pill is preferred, but advocates of Depo-Provera champion its simplicity. When women forget to take their birth control pill daily, their hormonal systems may be altered greatly. Depo provides these women with relief from the burden of remembering to take the pill everyday and gives them the option of having an injection every 12 weeks instead.

However, taking the pill on a daily basis can also remind sexually active women of their responsibilities regarding STDs.

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