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Drug Use's Impact On Condoms And Birth Control

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"Can recreational drugs make condoms or my birth control less effective?"

- Anonymous


This is an excellent question. If you are trying to reduce your risks for either STDs or pregnancy, it is important to know if other substances can have an impact on your health.

Chemically speaking, recreational drugs do not affect how most birth control methods perform. Popular drugs like ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine have been studied for the ways that they interact with birth control prescriptions. Studies have shown that these drugs do not reduce the effectiveness of hormonal birth control. Taking your birth control as directed will reduce your risk of pregnancy by over 99%, even if you are taking recreational drugs.

Using drugs can have other impacts on your sexual health, however. For example, numerous studies have shown that ingesting alcohol makes people more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior. These risky behaviors include unprotected sex, and unprotected sex is the way that most people end up contracting an STD. Alcohol can also affect somebody's ability to consent to sexual activity. Always be careful if you find yourself intoxicated.

The effectiveness of condoms is not in any way reduced by somebody's drug use. Some drugs can make it more difficult for a man to achieve and maintain an erection, but a condom will be effective for birth control and for STD protection whether or not the person wearing it has taken any recreational drugs.

If you have had unprotected sex because your judgment was impaired by the use of recreational drugs, it is important to get yourself tested for STDs. You will receive your results in two business days. If one of the tests comes back with a positive result, you will then be able to pursue treatment options after discussing the situation with your healthcare provider. 

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