In the domain of STIs, we often talk about the role contraceptives play. But when talking about contraceptives, we need to make a distinction between the different kinds.

We often get asked what roles, if any, oral contraceptives may play in the transmission of STIs.

In this blog post, we’ll explore this important topic with the goal of providing clear guidance so you can make better decisions about your sexual health.

Understanding oral contraceptives

Oral contraceptives, commonly known as birth control pills, are a reliable and effective means of preventing unwanted pregnancies when used correctly. They work primarily by suppressing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus, and altering the uterine lining.

However, it’s crucial to note that their primary function is contraception, not disease prevention.

STIs are a separate concern

Sexually transmitted infections, on the other hand, are infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that are transmitted through sexual contact. These infections include but are not limited to:

While sex can produce pregnancy and transmit STIs, they are two separate processes and are not directly related.

Why oral contraceptives don’t prevent STIs

There are very important reasons why oral contraceptives don’t prevent STIs.

Hormone regulation

Oral contraceptives work internally, regulating hormones and preventing pregnancy through different mechanisms.

No physical barrier

In order to completely prevent the transmission of STIs, you need to practice abstinence. If abstinence isn’t possible, the next best option is to use contraceptives like condoms, dental dams, and finger cots to provide a physical barrier between bodily fluids and mucus membranes.  

Final thoughts

While oral contraceptives are a valuable tool for preventing unintended pregnancies, they do not protect against sexually transmitted infections. To prevent the spread of STIs, use barriers like condoms, dental dams, and finger cots to lower the chances of transmission. It’s also important to note that, while these barriers do lower the chance of getting an STI, they are not a guarantee. You can use a condom when you have sex and still get an STI.

If you think you’ve been exposed to an STI, get tested with Better2Know. Call the number above to speak to one of our Sexual Health Advisors.

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