Women & HIV/AIDS Contraceptives

Women and HIV/AIDS – Contraceptives
India’s male dominated society increasingly puts pressure on women to care of issues such as contraception and birth control on their own. While the pill remains a popular option, it lacks the ability to protect against HIV. Listed below are some of the contraception methods available today:
The Pill
The Pill is the most popular type of birth control which stops ovulation, preventing the ovaries from releasing eggs. It also thickens cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to enter the uterus. The hormones in the Pill prevent fertilization and is 92-99.7% effective in birth control. However, it does not in any way protect against reproductive tract infections, including HIV/AIDS.
The female condom
The female condom is a disposable contraceptive designed for use by women to help prevent HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unintended pregnancy. Its sole purpose is to reduce the risk of transfer of virus, bacteria and sperm between sexual partners.
The female condom, 40% stronger than the latex used in male condoms, is a soft sheath that is open on one end and closed at the other. It has two soft, flexible rings. The ring inside the closed end is used to insert the device and helps to hold it in place over the cervix. The other ring forms the open end and remains outside the vagina after insertion. In addition to lining the inside of the vagina, the device covers the outside part of the vagina and the base of the penis during intercourse, reducing skin-to-skin contact.
A setback towards the use of female condoms in India is its pricing as well as availability. Like male condoms, the female condom can be used for one intercourse only.
Microbicides
Touted as an effective means of HIV prevention that does not require the cooperation of the male partner, microbicides are compounds that can be applied topically to protect against sexually transmitted infection including HIV. Though still being tested as a gel/ film/sponge/lubricant/suppository, they are amongst the most promising options on the horizon since it can be applied several hours before sexual intercourse. A safe and effective microbicide will put the power of protection from HIV infection in the hands of women and will save millions of lives. Conservative estimates suggest that the introduction of even a partially effective microbicide could result in 2.5 million averted cases of HIV over three years.
Dental Dams
Dental dams are squares made out of latex that dentists use to isolate the tooth on which they are working. AIDS educators have advocated their use for oral sex, either mouth-vagina or mouth-penis. Because they were not originally designed for sex, they tend to be thicker than condoms.