Sabtu, 25 Juli 2009

Birth Control Method Failures

In Human Biology 5th ed. (p. 387) there’s a table of data provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the failure rates of various contraceptive methods. I’ve always felt that the reported failure rate for condoms of 10-20% seemed awfully high. Condoms are supposed to work, right?

Now there’s an explanation. Recent evidence shows that for both condoms and withdrawal, there’s a big difference between “perfect use” and “typical use”. If a couple actually uses a condom every time (no exceptions, folks), the annual failure rate is only about 2%. For withdrawal every time, the failure rate is about 4%. The problem is that in the heat of passion some couples “forget”, or convince themselves that not using a birth control method just this once won’t be a big deal. Under these more typical use conditions, the failure rates of condoms and of withdrawal are indeed closer to 20% per year.

If you’re going to rely on these contraceptive methods, don’t cheat!

REFERENCE: R.K. Jones. Better than nothing or savvy risk-reduction practice? The importance of withdrawal. Contraception 79:407-410, June, 2009.

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