Feb 262004
Authors: Natalie Plowman

Let’s talk about sex baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s

talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be,

according to Colour Me Bad.

The two basic groupings of contraceptives available are hormonal

and non-hormonal methods.

Hormonal contraceptives include the patch, the pill,

contraceptive injections, a progestin-releasing Intrauterine Device

(IUD) and a vaginal ring.

Non-hormonal contraceptives include the male and female condoms,

IUD, spermicides, diaphragms, a cervical cap and surgical

sterilization, a permanent method of birth control.

Freshman Tyler Scott, a history major, uses condoms as a form of

birth control but said he would support his girlfriend using the


“I use condoms to prevent pregnancy and STDs,” Scott said.

Non-hormonal contraceptives vary in effectiveness, although most

are 90 to 99 percent effective.

All of the hormonal contraceptives are 99 percent effective when

used correctly. Sharon Kennedy, a nurse practitioner at the health

center, said the hormonal contraceptives are the most


“I still think the pill … is most widely used,” Kennedy


Oral contraceptives like the birth control pill contain

synthetic estrogen and progesterone, which prohibit ovulation in

order to prevent pregnancy.

There is not really a way to determine the safest method of

birth control, or the method with the least side effects, Kennedy

said. The safest mode is dependent on the individual patient and

his or her medical history.

There are a variety of birth control pills available.

“Many of the birth control pills are exactly alike,” Kennedy

said. “Some just have higher hormone levels, and some have lower

hormone levels.”

Other methods, such as Depo-Provera, a tri-monthly injection,

are available as well.

One side effect Kennedy said comes with Depo-Provera is that it

can prevent the absorption of calcium, which can cause the onset of

early osteoporosis.

“You just have to look at each patient individually,” Kennedy


The severity of side effects can vary among patients.

Another form of contraception is the Ortho Evra birth control

patch, which is worn for one week at a time.

“The hormone is in the adhesive backing of it … the hormones

are absorbed continually through your skin,” Kennedy said.

Samantha Farro, a graduate student in the psychology department,

is currently using Ortho Evra.

Farro has been using the patch for over a year now, but she has

utilized various methods before as well, including the pill,

condoms and abstinence when she was not in a sexually active


“The first time I started taking birth control I was 18 or 19,”

Farro said.

Birth control pills were not as convenient for her because she

had to make sure she took them at the same time every day and her

busy schedule made this hard.

Farro also tried Depo Provera for a while.

“Then I started having side effects,” Farro said. The side

effects included pain during intercourse and spotting between


Farro finds the patch to be a better form of birth control for


“It’s pretty convenient. I did a lot of research. This is one

that is relatively reliable,” Farro said.

Farro only stays on birth control while she is sexually active

and practices abstinence while not in a relationship.

“If I was going to have a recommendation, it’s just to do your

own research,” Farro said.

She also said it is important to have a trusting relationship

with the gynecologist or nurse practitioner.

Freshman Jeff Torres, a business major, is currently in a

relationship in which he and his partner use birth control; his

girlfriend is on the pill.

“I support her taking birth control pills. It’s an excellent

method,” Torres said.

Deb Morris, director of health education at Hartshorn Health

Service, said it is apparent that although some students do use

some form of birth control, others do take part in dangerous sexual

behavior without using contraceptives.

“We see a huge surge in pregnancy testing right after Spring

Break,” Morris said.

Brochures and information pamphlets on birth control methods and

various contraceptives are available at Hartshorn Health


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