Only barrier methods provide
- Male condoms offer best protection
- Female condoms also offer protection
- Spermicides may offer modest protection from
Of all forms of contraception, only barrier contraceptive methods
also provide some protection against STDs. These are methods
that physically or chemically block the passage of sperm and
infectious organisms between partners. These methods include
the male latex condom, female condom and spermicides.
Aside from total abstinence or a mutually monogamous relationship
between uninfected partners, male condoms, when used consistently
and correctly, provide the best protection against both bacterial
and viral STDs. Laboratory studies have shown that female condoms
block the passage of organisms that cause STDs, but human studies
for this relatively new device are limited. One study involving
over 100 women diagnosed and treated for trichomoniasis indicated
that subsequent, consistent use of the female condom protected
against recurrences of the STD.
The extent to which spermicides, including those that contain
nonoxynol-9, or N-9, protect against STDs is not well understood.
Spermicide use may provide modest protection against bacterial
STDs, but has not been shown to protect against viral STDs.
More research is needed to determine the protection various
Other modern methods of birth control (such as IUDs, pills,
injectables, implants and sterilization) are more effective
than barrier methods for preventing pregnancy, but do not prevent