Happy World Contraception Day (WCD)! WCD is all about informing and empowering young people to make healthy decisions that are right for them, including using contraception to protect against unintended pregnancy and STDs. If you’re looking for hassle-free birth control, long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) are the way to go. These types of contraceptives include the implant and intra-uterine device (IUD).
- As you may have gathered from the name, LARCs last for a long time. The implant, also called Nexplanon, works for up to three years. The copper IUD, also called Paragard, works for up to ten years. Different hormonal IUDs, such as Skyla and Mirena, work for up to three to five years.
- LARCs must be inserted by a healthcare provider but you can get one for FREE! In addition to the LARC itself, the visit to a clinic to have it inserted and removed is covered by health insurance or other programs. Know your rights to accessing no-cost birth control. If you have any issues getting a LARC or other birth control, let us know!
- LARCs can be taken out at any time by a health care provider. All you have to do is make an appointment. Once the LARC is removed, you can become pregnant.
- Did we mention they’re hassle-free? With all LARCs, there is a quick outpatient procedure to insert them. Once the implant or IUD is inserted, all you need to do is remember to make an appointment to have it removed and replaced once it stops being effective– or if and when you want to remove it so you can get pregnant.
- All LARCs are over 99% effective, making them the most effective reversible forms of contraception. If one hundred people use any of the LARCs in a year, one, but probably none, of them may become pregnant. To compare: the birth control pill is about 91% effective, and the condom is about 82% effective, because they are not always used perfectly.
- They’re discreet. Once the implant or IUD is inserted, you probably won’t notice. And partners, friends, family, and teachers will not be able to tell that you are using these methods.
How Do I Get Started?
If you’re feeling pretty jazzed about LARCs and want to find out more, consider taking the following steps:
- Check out more detailed information about the implant, IUD, or other forms of birth control.
- Make an appointment at a clinic or your doctor’s office.
- At the appointment, bring up any health issues and medicines you’re taking. Make sure to ask questions. Your provider should go over all of the details of your chosen method. If you and your doctor decide that the implant or IUD is best for you, you may be able to have it placed that day.
- During this process, you may want to talk with a parent or trusted adult. You can get a LARC without needing a parent but they can help sort through a lot of information and provide support.
- If you want to get a LARC placed, but it’s important for you to keep it confidential, you can take action. If you are covered under your parent’s insurance, but want your birth control use under wraps, you can enroll in Family PACT when you visit a clinic near you or submit a Confidential Communications Request to your health plan BEFORE your visit, and make sure your request is in place BEFORE your appointment.
How Can I Protect Myself From STDs?
While LARCs are fantastic at preventing pregnancy, they do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as HIV. Only condoms can protect against STDs, so make sure to use one every time you have sex to protect you and your partner.
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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.