Contraception: General Information

Key Facts
  • Decide on how to prevent pregnancy and STIs before becoming sexually active.
  • Contraception methods vary in effectiveness and cost.
  • Using two methods (such as birth control pills and condoms) greatly decreases your chances of becoming pregnant and getting an STI.
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  • Young men's version of this guide

You may be starting to think about what it means to be involved in a sexual relationship. There are many things that you need to think about before you decide to have sex, including whether this is the right person, the right time in your life, and how you will feel if the relationship breaks up. If you do decide to have sex, you need to think about how to prevent getting pregnant and how to protect yourself from getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

You should talk to your parents, guardian, a trusted adult, or your health care provider if you are thinking about having a sexual relationship. It is a good idea to discuss all your choices and all the concerns and worries you may have so you can make good decisions. This can be a very confusing time for you, and it is always good to have someone to talk to.

What types of contraception are there?

There are many different types of contraception that vary in how effective they are at preventing pregnancy, how much they cost, how easy they are to use, and whether they also protect against STIs. Using two types of contraceptive methods, such as the birth control pill and condoms, increases protection against both pregnancy and STIs. Males use some types of contraception and females use other types of contraception. If you are having a sexual relationship with a male, it’s good to know all about the different types of female and male contraception. Together, you and your partner should figure out the best choice for the two of you. Whatever type of contraception one of you uses can influence the health of both people in the relationship. Only females can get pregnant, but everyone can get a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

If you have sexual intercourse, you are always at risk for pregnancy and STIs, but if you practice safer sex with only one partner (who is uninfected and has no other sexual partners) and you make good decisions about contraception, you can greatly lower your risk.

Contraceptive methods include:

Most Effective




Least Effective