Birth Control and STDs


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are spread by sexual contact with skin, genitals, mouth, rectum, or body fluids. Although some STDs can be treated, others cannot. People with an STD may not know they have it.1 [More on STDs…]

Contraceptives and STDs

There is no contraceptive method that is highly effective in simultaneously preventing pregnancy and STDs.2 Among contraceptive methods, condoms provide the most protection, but 21-40% of the time condom use fails to protect against STDs.3

Chemical Methods of Birth Control

Chemical methods such as the birth control pill provide no protection against STDs and can actually increase a woman’s risk of getting an STD by 30%.4

Barrier Methods of Birth Control

Female barrier methods such as the diaphragm and cervical cap increase a woman’s risk of vaginal infections. Having any kind of vaginal infection increases the risk of contracting an STD.5

Birth Control and HPV

No method of contraception provides total protection from HPV. Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. 6 It can lead to cervical, oral, and/or rectal cancer. Incidence of HPV-related oral cancer has increased by 225% from 1988 to 2004.7

STD Prevention

For information about avoiding STDs, visit STD Prevention.

Medically Reviewed By:

Tessa, NP

Staff Nurse Practitioner, Baton Rouge

1 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2011). How to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. FAQ009.

2 Cates, W., Stone, K.M., (1992). Family planning, sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptive choice: A literature update—Part I. Fam Plann Perspect; 24(2): 75-84.

3 Sanghvi, H., (1996). Contraception and STDs. JHPIEGO; Issues in Management of STDs in Family Planning Settings. STDs Workshop Proceedings; Apr 19-21, 1995; Baltimore, MD.

4 Baeten, J.M., Nyange, P.M., Richardson, B.A., Lavreys, L., Chohan, B., Martin, H.L., Jr., et al., (2001). Hormonal contraception and risk of sexually transmitted disease acquisition: Results from a prospective study. Am J Obstet Gynecol; 185(2): 380-385

5 Rosenberg, M.J., Davidson, A.J., Chen, J.H., Judson, F.N., Douglas, J.M., (1992). Barrier contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases in women: a comparison of female-dependent methods and condoms. Am J Public Health; 82(5):669-674.

6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013). Human papillomavirus (HPV). Retrieved June 2021 from

7 Schlecht, H.P., (2012). Oral human papillomavirus infection: Hazard of intimacy. JAMA; 307(7): 724-725.