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Birth Control as protection against HIV and STDs

Some people mistakenly believe that by protecting themselves against pregnancy, they are automatically protecting themselves from HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Only the male latex condom method is considered highly effective in reducing the risk of STDs.

Unlike latex condoms, lambskin condoms are not recommended for STD prevention because they may permit passage of viruses like HIV, hepatitis B and herpes through the material. Polyurethane condoms are an alternative method of STD protection for those who are latex-sensitive.

Because it is a barrier method that works in much the same way as the male condom, the female condom may provide some protection against STDs. Both condoms should not be used together, however, because they may not both stay in place.

According to a FDA advisory panel it appears, based on several published scientific studies, that some vaginal spermicides containing nonoxynol-9 may reduce the risk of gonorrhea and chlamydia transmission. However, use of nonoxynol-9 may cause tissue irritation, raising the possibility of an increased susceptibility to some STDs, including HIV.

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