Contraception, or more colloquially termed: “Birth Control” are methods used to prevent pregnancy. Contraceptive methods have been around for thousands of years, however it wasn’t until the early 20th century that safe, effective methods emerged. Today, in an increasingly sexualized culture, birth control is reaching new popularity heights, especially amongst the younger generation. Currently it is being used by 62% of women who are sexually active. The majority of these women are those between their high school and college years. This is a result of a big push for preventive care by Doctors and Research Agencies that have identified 15-19 year olds as the population most susceptible to unintended pregnancy and STDs. The reason for this? Campus culture that fosters not only sexual promiscuity but a general lack of care for personal health and maintenance. That’s why birth control on campus is so important.
Between bars, clubs and frat parties there has been an increase in alcohol and sex on college campuses. Though pop culture makes all this seem fun, it can also be extremely dangerous. Young adults, still in their adolescent years, have not reached the point of maturity where they can distinguish between what is innocent play and potentially harmful experimentation. As a general safe rule, those who are sexually active should always be prepared with some method of birth control. Below we have compiled a list of the benefits and potential risk factors of the most common forms of college campus birth control.
- Firstly, the classic Birth Control Pill. Birth Control Pills are actually divided between two forms, the Combination Pill and the Progestrin only pill. The Combination Pill contains both Estrogen and Progesterone, and is known to be 99% effective if taken correctly. This means taking it every day as instructed, without missing a dose. It can also reduce acne, cramps, premenstrual symptoms including mood swings and heavy bleeding, all added bonuses. The pill does have side effects though, especially for heavy smokers, women with diabetes, or those who are the over age of 35. The Progesterone only pill bypasses some of these risks; however it must be taken at the same time every day or will be ineffective if not.
- Next, the IUD. The IUD is a longer term solution, and is a small vaginally implanted device that works by releasing hormones to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Some coil IUDs work without the hormone release. IUDs are becoming an increasingly popular form of birth control on campus as they provide excellent long term birth control. IUDs are just as efficient as the Pill with a 99% protection rate and they require less maintenance. Once they are professionally fitted the level of protection lasts for up to 5 years. IUDs have a higher initial cost but if you are planning on NOT getting pregnant in the next few years the cost works out far cheaper. Some women report that the IUD caused them pain/discomfort at the beginning but that the pain subsided after a while.
- Another contraception classic, the Condom. The Condom is also 99% effective if used correctly. Condoms can completely prevent sperm from entering the uterus, also defending against STDs. The caution against Condoms however is that it is often not worn properly and should not be used with oil based lubricants as that may degrade the latex. Those with latex allergies should also not use condoms and look for alternative options. Everyone on campus is encouraged to use a condom regardless of other birth control precautions. It is the only form of birth control that protects from HIV and STD’s, something that can easily spread when having casual encounters. Especially so on campus.
- The last large contraception method, is the Morning After Pill (Emergency Contraception Plan B). The Morning After Pill is composed of the same hormones as the combination pill but at a much higher dose preventing ovulation/fertilization of the egg. Plan B is not as effective and cannot protect against STDs as it is taken the morning after unprotected sex. The Morning After Pill is intended as an emergency method of preventing pregnancy. Using it multiple times can be dangerous. Even though there is a large window of time to take the morning after pill, it becomes even less effective with every 24 hours that pass after intercourse.
Unintended pregnancies and STDs can easily destroy lives. Among four year colleges, only 56% of students graduate. The majority drop out because they can’t afford it or cannot keep up academically. Under such high financial and academic pressure already, a college student should not be put under further health risk or assume the responsibility of taking care of another life.
By default women take charge of the majority of birth control on campus, it’s their bodies and their lives that will be affected most by an unintended pregnancy. It’s also to do with Big Pharma. Big Pharma puts the pressure on women to make the campus birth control choice because there is very little approved birth control that can be male initiated. Basically, men have the Condom and spermicide”¦. and women have everything else.
With that said, birth control on campus is not the responsibility of only one gender. It’s about preventing pregnancy and preventing diseases like HIV and STD’s. Men should invest in condoms and spermicide, while women should invest in the pill, IUD, female condoms, vaginal rings, diaphragms, contraceptive patch, female condoms, etc. Ideally, when having sex, there should be a combination of birth control from both sides present. You won’t regret it.