New contraception options popularized

People are trying new methods like Depo-Provera instead of birth-control pills.

Jamie VanGeest

Misconceptions about forms of contraception and their use are common on campus.

The most popular forms of contraception on campus are birth-control pills, condoms and withdrawal before ejaculation.

Even though these have been the most popular forms since 1998, University students are choosing new options.

In the 2004 Boynton Student Health Assessment Survey, students reported that the last time they had vaginal intercourse, 38.3 percent used birth-control pills, 32.8 percent used male or female condoms and 9.8 percent used withdrawal.

Those numbers are down from the 2001 health assessment survey, when 48 percent used birth-control pills, 35.3 percent used condoms and 12 percent used withdrawal as a method of contraception.

In the 2004 survey, students were asked for the first time if they used Ortho Evra, a birthcontrol patch, and NuvaRing, a plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina once a month.

These two types of contraception are the “new kids on the block,” said Val Miller, who has been a nurse practitioner at Boynton Health Service for 29 years.

Miller said she has seen more patients choosing these new forms of contraception over the past few years.

“I think they are (using new forms) because of convenience; it’s hard to take a daily pill,” she said.

Depo-Provera, a birth-control shot that is given every three months, is used by 2.1 percent of students.

Also, after being off the market for nearly a decade, the sponge is back.

The sponge is made of polyurethane foam with a spermicide. It is moistened and then inserted into the vagina. The sponge provides protection for 24 hours.

The sponge was the bestselling over-the-counter female contraceptive when it was on the market in the 1980s and 1990s.

“I know Walgreens carries it.” Miller said. “That’s an over-the-counter product that’s back on track.”

Sherrie Just, a first-year pre-medicine student, said, “(The sponge) is easier to use; I will get it.”

Miller said recommendations by health professionals about intrauterine devices are changing. These devices were previously recommended for women who had given birth. Now women who have not had children can use them, she said.

Intrauterine devices, which are inserted into the uterus, can be effective for five to 10 years.

Marilyn Joseph, director of Boynton, said even with the new recommendations, these types of devices should only be used by people in monogamous relationships because they can cause complications if a person has multiple partners.

First-year student Kara May said she is not sexually active so she doesn’t use contraceptives.

“I think that abstinence is best because you don’t get diseases,” she said.

But Marcus Cullen, an architecture junior, said it’s “absolutely” important that students use contraception.

“It’s a good thing for students not to have children.”