Betty & Johnny

Peer Support answers questions about your sexual health

Q: What is the best kind of birth control?

A: There are many kinds of birth control options available for women which vary in effectiveness according to the method used. The most effective method of birth control is implants or injections of progestin. These injections can last up to three years and have less than one per cent failure rate. Most brands of oral contraception pills are equally effective in stopping pregnancy from occurring. If always used as directed, pills can have less than one percent failure rate. Oral contraception pills contain high amounts of estrogen and progestin (although some pills are progestin-only) which are sex hormones that in high quantities prevent ovulation and subsequently prevent women from becoming pregnant. Using a vaginal ring or birth control patch are also other options which works the same way as oral contraception and can have the same failure rate, again only if used as directed. It is important to remember that none of the above contraceptives can protect against STIs and STDs. Using a condom can help prevent these diseases and generally has a failure rate of two per cent, again only when used correctly. Consult your doctor is you are unsure which method is right for you. 

For more information on birth control effectiveness please visit, .

Q: Is it still important to use a condom during oral sex?

A: Contraception during oral sex is still important as it is still possible to contract either a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) or Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) during any form of sex where bodily fluids meet or there is skin to skin contact with an infected area. Barrier methods are most effective in the prevention of transmission of STIs and STDs. Condoms and dental dams are two of the best forms of contraception to be used for oral sex. Dental Dams can either be bought or made from regular condoms.

Here’s how:

1. Unroll the condom.

2. Cut off the tip.

3. Cut down one side of the condom with scissors.

4. You now have a latex rectangle perfect for use during oral sex!

For more information on how to make a dental dam or other forms of contraception please visit and .

Q: How does HPV spread?

A: HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Most infected people have no symptoms and are unaware they are infected and therefore could unintentionally transmit the virus to a sex partner. Transmission of the virus can occur during oral sex, fingering or any finger/anal or oral/anal contact. Genital warts resulting from HPV infection can be found around the anus, vulva, or cervix of women and around the anus and the shaft of the penis in men. Visible warts are usually harder to see in women than in men however, not everyone infected with HPV will develop warts. Keep in mind that while the risk of transmitting the virus is highest when there are visible warts, transmission can be spread when no outward signs of HPV are present. Another thing to keep in mind is that HPV can lay dormant for years. Even in long-term monogamous relationships, genital warts or other changes can occur without an obvious infectious event.

Betty and Johnny is a University of Winnipeg campus-wide anonymous question and answer program. Questions are posted on posters in bathrooms and are researched, answered and verified by professionals before being posted again in both places.
Betty and Johnny is a project run by Peer Support, a student-run support group for students that provides a safe and confidential environment to discuss concerns and referral information for other organizations.

Published in Volume 64, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 18, 2010)

Related Reads