Tuesday, September 27, 2011

World Contraception Day: The Pill vs Condoms

Yesterday was World Contraception DayMs. Magazine's article A Zero-Cost Way to Prevent Unintended Pregnancy was interesting and no, the solution is not abstinence! The proposed solution is to extend the length of prescriptions so women don't run out of the pill.  As someone who used to be on the pill for years, and as someone who takes other medications now, having a short-term script is extremely annoying.  For one, I don't have health insurance and having to sit in the local free clinic for hours to walk in and spend less than five minutes with a doctor to get a prescription filled is extremely annoying.  Even when I make an appointment with the local planned parenthood, by the time I realize something is running out or already ran out, there is then the additional time spent waiting to get said appointment.

When something is over-the-counter and it runs out, I run the risk of missing maybe a day, or I can walk into the store and buy it when I see I'm running out.  When taking a prescription and it runs out, I run the risk of missing many days, especially with the added effort involved.  It could be argued that why can't the same thinking be used for prescriptions.  Any added step makes something more work, and also more time consuming, which most people don't have.  It's different to have to stop by a local pharmacy or market to pick up multivitamins, then it is to have to call and schedule an appointment with a doctor that costs more money just be seen, then the added cost of the prescription, plus the time spent waiting in the waiting room, then the added time waiting in the doctor's office.  

says, "Running out of pills can cause women miss or skip a day or two or more, which reduces the effectiveness of the Pill in preventing pregnancy.  Longer supplies could help the growing numbers of uninsured or underinsured women who can’t cover the cost of a doctor’s visit every three months.  They could also provide a safety net for women who unexpectedly lose their jobs and thus their health insurance coverage, and have not budgeted for the full out-of-pocket prescription price (which can be as much as $180 for a three-month supply). In this economy, that is a very real concern." 
The issue I have with talking about contraception and only talking about the pill is that when having heterosexual sex, there is more to be concerned with then whether or not pregnancy is the outcome.  And with the recent Massive Birth Control Recall, I think talking about other forms of birth control is extremely important; birth control that protects the woman from not only getting pregnant unintentionally, but also protects from sexually transmitted diseases.  While avoiding pregnancy is seen as the biggest concern, and while I myself have taken necessary precautions to avoid having to invoke my right to choose, I also don't want to contract any STDs.  There are so many brands and types of condoms and these are the kind of birth control that if you run out of your script, or if you're not on one, you can walk into the market and buy a package whenever!

Do you think prescriptions for the pill should be written for short-term or long-term?  Do you think the conversation between birth control and protection against STDs can be separated?  Do you agree or disagree that both are extremely important issues to discuss when talking about sex?  Comment below or email me shapedbymylife@gmail.com

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting post for me, because I've never had a short-term pill script. I've been on the pill for the last seven years or so, and my prescriptions have always been twelve months. This means I get to just call once a month (or every three months, as some pharmacies will provide you with additional months at a time) for a refill, which is easy to remember because I get in the habit of doing it while on my period. Then, I only need to remember to make an appointment once a year, which is also how often I need an annual OB-GYN exam. Since this happens at least in the same month each year, it's easy to remember -- hey! It's April! Time for the gyno! I can imagine how difficult this process would be without that long-term prescription.

    And finally, THANK you for mentioning STDs. It's so sad to see how absent that still is from conversations on safe sex. Even after an AIDS epidemic, no one likes to talk to their partners about crabs. But it's about more than not making babies!