What Kinds of Birth Control Work Best Against Pregnancy and STDs?

My boyfriend and I aren't ready to have sex yet, but we want to be prepared for the future. What kinds of birth control work best against pregnancy and STDs?
Ellie*

It’s great that you are thinking about protection in advance. After abstinence, the best protection against both pregnancy and STDs is actually to use two methods of birth control at the same time:

  • a condom to protect against STDs, and
  • a hormonal method (like the Pill), because these have the highest protection rates against pregnancy

Condoms are the only type of birth control that protects against STDs. When used correctly, condoms are also fairly effective at protecting against pregnancy — but they're not as successful as hormonal methods like the Pill, patch, ring, or birth control shot.

Hormonal birth control methods are not suitable for everyone, though. For example, they can be less effective or more risky to take if a girl has certain medical conditions. Because of this — and because several different hormonal methods are available — the ideal way to learn what's best for you and your partner is to visit your doctor, nurse practitioner, or a local family planning clinic.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: February 2011

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