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October 22, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-10-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 22, 1993 - 5

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Source: UHS

88 percent effective
alone; 97.5 percent with
Provides protection
against STDs and AIDS if
used with nonoxynol-9
Easy and inexpensive
method with no side effects
Decreases spontaneity


Latex Condoms


97 percent effective
Best for women who have
frequent intercourse or want
Does not prevent STDs or
0 Lightens periods and
minimizes cancer risk
Possible side effects


gadg eots


M Latex condoms disintegrate with oil-based lubricants including Crisco,
chocolate syrup and whipped cream


The Pill*


b ,R 9I

75-82 percent effective
® Does not prevent AIDS or
® Does not hinder
spontaneity. Inexpensive
method for those willing to
risk an unplanned pregnancy
Not a reliable method

" A condom in a wallet has a two week life span
® The pill does not work combined with antibiotics use
" Over five years, Norplant ends up being cheaper than birth control pills
" The World Health Organization estimates that more than 250 million new STD cases
appear each year


K. . 1'iV ~ r7C j -

N 82-94 percent effective
0 Protects against some
STDs when used with
Causes few side effects
® Bad idea for women who
have large fluctuations in
weight, hinders spontaneity
and may cause urinary tract
0 $9.75-$12.59

N 82-94 percent effective
U Does not prevent AIDS or
STDs when used alone
® Available without a
® Decreases spontaneity
and some are allergic to
T chemicals
® $4.60 for 3
Sponge with

M The average ejaculation is approximately 5 cubic centimeters,

fO r 4$;

® 99.5 percent effective
Does not prevent STDs or
® Long term protection that
is easier than pill; can be
removed at any time
® Requires surgical
insertion and removal. Some
implants can be seen under
$490 (effective 5 yrs.)
® 97-99 percent effective
® Does not prevent AIDS or
Effective method that
requires surgical insertion
and removal
® Bad idea for those who
have never carried full term
pregnancy and those with
pelvic or uterine problems
O $129-$167

of protein
broken condom. A
missed period. Suddenly
choosing a major seems like a
What you're about to decide will
change the rest of your life.
"It's not something I'd want to
happen ever," LSA first-year student
Lauren Morfoot said. "I'd just be a mess
if I were pregnant. I wouldn't know how
to handle myself."
But for the people who requested the
1,600 pregnancy tests at University
Health Service (UHS) last year, the
decision seemed very real. For the 294
women who tested positive, the decision
was real.
Some of these students joyfully
anticipated the birth of a child. Others
regretted the night the condom broke, the
day they forgot to take their pill or the
evening when they didn't want to spoil
the moment.
"I thought I was pregnant once," said
Beth, an LSA senior. "I was scared
shitless. I had to take a wait-and-see
approach, but fortunately I was lucky."
After the condom broke she and her
partner agreed they needed a new
method. One month later, she was taking
birth control pills.
Her new birth control method is one
of the most popular on campus. Other
favorites include condoms, abstinence
Students who choose to have sex
have many birth control options
available to them. Some methods, like
withdrawal, are as old as sex itself.
Others, like the female condom and
Norplant are so new, few are ready to
trust them.
But one thing's certain: contraception
is a topic students need to know
everything about. The products we
choose and how we use them can alter
the course of our lives. Some products
will prevent pregnancy. Others may just
keep us alive.
Condoms vs. the pill
The last decade has marked a
significant change in the way men and
women think about sex.
Pills, shots, foams and diaphragms
used to be easy, fun ways to prevent
unplanned pregnancies. But in the
1990's, more things have to be
considered. While some contraceptives
work just fine for catching sperm or
killing eggs, viruses are smaller and are
harder to control.
The only real way to protect yourself
form AIDS is abstinence. The next best
thing is a latex condom with nonoxynol-
9 spermicide.
But these rubber socks that roll onto
the penis to block the flow of sperm (and
viruses), can also be messy.
Even when used correctly, they can
break or slip off. Some students also
complain that they're a pain to put on.
They interrupt romantic moments and
dull sexual sensations. As one male LSA
senior pointed out: "Sex is much juicier
without a condom."
"It does kind of break the mood,"
agreed LSA junior Sue Wagner. "You
have to stop, get it out and put it on.

potential side effects associated with
birth control pills.
"I've heard it can affect people
differently," she said. "Most of my
friends who are on the pill can't wait to
get off. It affects their moods and they
experience a lot of weight gain."
But one nursing school sophomore
said the pill only affected her body in a
positive way. "I grew a bra size," she
said. "I thought (the pill) was great. It's
much better than having to put in a
diaphragm or something -it kinda
blows the mood.",
The pill also offers women the
advantage of controlling their own
bodies, Beth said. "It makes me more
responsible for myself because I'm not
depending on my partner for security."
But in order to be effective, both the
pill and condoms need to be used
Pills must be taken every day at
around the same time.
Condoms must be properly stored.
The life expectancy of a condom in a
wallet is about two weeks. The heat and
compression breaks down the latex and
spermicide, rendering it useless.
Condoms also do not work when
used with oil-based lubricants like
chocolate sauce, whipped cream and
But head UHS gynecologist Ron
Mulder recommends using a water-based
lubricant such as K-Y Jelly.
Spermicides may also be used alone
for contraception, but these sperm-killing
chemicals do not kill STDs such as HIV.
New products
Although none of the newest high-
tech contraception devices can protect
you from STDs, new products like
Norplant and Depo-Provera can be easier
to use and more convenient than
But students say they are suspect of
birth-control devices they've never used
and are hesitant to use newer products
that have not been tested as widely as
products like the pill and condoms.
"I feel (Norplant) is still mostly
experimental," Beth said. "I know it's
been approved, but the history of the pill
has 30 years. There's much more
research into the effects. The unknown
consequences of Norplant scare me."
But the recently-introduced Norplant
-the first substantially-new
contraceptive in the United States in 25
years - offers many of the same
benefits of the pill without the hassle of
having to remember to take it every day.
There are no messy lubricants or cups
that need to be inserted. And nothing
interrupts the fun, romantic flow of
sexual intercourse.
The six slender Norplant rods
implanted under the skin of a woman's
upper arm slowly release hormones that
suppress ovulation into the blood stream.
The product can be removed at any time
and because it is good for up to five
years, it ends up being cheaper than the
pill in the long run.
But many women shy away from
Norplant because the six rods may be.
visible beneath the skin and because

1950's. But because of regulatory
obstacles, the product was not made
available until this decade. It had been
marketed in 40 countries before it was
allowed to be distributed in the United
Another new product, the female
condom, is hard to use correctly, but it
does have the advantage of being a
woman's only form of contraception that
prevents the transmission of STDs.
The female condom is the same
length as a male condom, but wider. The
condom is made of a silicone-lubricated
polyurethane sheath. On each end is a
flexible polyurethane ring. One ring is
used to insert into the vagina and the
other remains outside the body to anchor
the condom.
Women have reported that the penis
can slip under the exterior ring, therefore
making the female condom completely
The female condom, marketed as
"Reality," may be available at UHS later
this semester after passing through an
approval process.
"The University wants to have as
many options available for people so
they can make the best choices for them
based on lifestyle costs, health costs and
financial costs," said Janet Zielasko,
director of the UHS health promotion
and community relations office.
Other options
Although condoms and the pill are
the most common form of birth control
on campus, sexually active people in the
rest of the country are also commonly
using the intrauterine device (IUD), the
diaphragm and surgical sterilization.
While some students use the
diaphragm, surgical sterilization and
the IUD are rarely seen because they can
threaten a woman's chance of ever
getting pregnant.
In fact, UHS will not prescribe the
IUD to women who have not been
pregnant because the plastic devices
inserted by a clinician into the uterus,
may cause problem pregnancy later on.
UHS practitioners generally advise
against sterilization for younger people.
"The earlier in her life she makes the
decision (to be sterilized) the more likely
she is to want a reversal," Dr. Mulder
However, some students do use the
This product can be compared to the
condom in terms of drawbacks-it's a
pain to put it and can be messy. But once

2 calories and .1 gram
fitted to the body, it can be used
For those who feel comfortable
touching themselves enough to put
diaphragms in correctly, they can save
themselves the trouble of buying
When used with spermicides, the
diaphragm also can protect against some
STDs, but not the HIV virus.
The cervical cap, the sponge, and
the diaphragm must be used with a
spermicide and inserted before
These barriers must remain in the
body long enough so the spermicide
can kill all the sperm.
Erika, an LSA junior, said timing the
hours before intercourse made using the
sponge much more difficult than
"Condoms are a pain to use
sometimes," she said. "But the sponge is
far worse."
Other students don't like using the
sponge, cervical cup and diaphragm
because they are uncomfortable touching
their genitals.
On the other hand, one student said:
"The diaphragm is good, but again, some
women (and their partners) don't install
it right. If that puppy isn't put in right,
you might as well be using the rhythm
None of these options are failure-
proof: Condoms can break, leaving both
parties facing overwhelming fear. Pills
won't work unless they're taken every
day. Diaphragms, sponges and cervical
caps must all be inserted properly and for
the right amount of time. Norplant,
surgery and injections can have a high
initial cost.
But choices do not have to be
limiting. Many of these devices can be
used to supplement each other.
Combining condoms with the
sponge is safer than condoms alone.
Some students say they also use the
withdrawal method -pulling the penis
away from the vagina before ejaculation
- in combination with other techniques.
But used alone, withdrawal does not
offer much protection. Sperm and
harmful STDs may be in the pre-
ejaculatory fluid.
But what ever devise you choose to
use, advises David, an LSA senior, be
sure you use something.
"It's your social responsibility as well
as a responsibility to yourself to protect
against the spread of disease as well as
against pregnancy."



99.7 percent effective
Does not prevent AIDS or
Effective method that
does not hinder spontaneity
Requires visit to clinician
every 3 months for injection
$47/injection (effective
for 3 months)

Depo-Provera *


, :.


70-80 percent effective
Does not prevent AIDS or
Natural method with no
side effects; helpful if
planning pregnancy.
® Bad for those with
stressful lifestyle or irregular
0 Minimal cost



1 21P

* 83 percent effective
May protect against STDs.
Still uncertain.
Has no side effects
0 Must be correctly in place.
Hinders spontaneity
N $35.63

Contraception Education Program
One- to two-hour session led
by peer educators. Session
covers lifestyle, health and
economic costs of many
forms of contraception with models of the
female reproductive system and samples of




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