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|Birth control type||Barrier|
|First use||Plastic & silicone (1900s)
Other materials (Ancient)
|Failure rates (first year)|
|Perfect use||method dependent%|
|Typical use||method dependent%|
|User reminders||Must be applied prior to intercourse.|
|Clinic review||Size assessment for some methods|
|Advantages and disadvantages|
|STD protection||Method dependent|
|Benefits||No external drugs taken|
Barrier methods of birth control block sperm from entering the uterus. Using a spermicide with a barrier method gives you the best possible barrier method protection.
The spermicide kills most of the sperm that enter the vagina. The barrier method then blocks any remaining sperm from passing through the cervix to fertilize an egg. Barrier methods include the diaphragm, cervical cap, cervical shield, male condom, and female condom and spermicidal foam, sponges, and film. Unlike other methods of birth control, barrier methods are used only when you have sexual intercourse. Be sure to read the instructions before using a barrier method. It is very important that you use a barrier method correctly every time you have sex. Barrier methods are contraceptives that prevent the passage of bodily fluids from one person to another. Examples of barrier methods include condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms, sponges, and dental dams. Only dental dams and condoms are recommended agents of HIV transmission prevention. A01371987 A01019425
The earliest recorded barrier methods are those of stem pessaries, found in Egypt. The diaphragm and reusable condoms became common after the invention of rubber vulcanization in the early nineteenth century. Condoms became even more popular after the 1930s invention of latex, which enabled the creation of thinner, disposable prophylactics.
Barrier methods of contraception grew in popularity and availability in the post war years with greater abundance of synthetic materials (latex and later silicon). The use of the condom exploded in the 1980s and 1990s with the discovery of the HIV/AIDS virus but other methods of barrier contraception fell into a decline with adverse reports from the WHO regarding Nonoxynol-9-based spermicides which consequently hindered their use.
The following are barrier methods of contraception.
- Female condom
- Cervical cap (including Lea's Shield)
- SILCS diaphragm (still in clinical testing)
The male (and female) condom provides excellent protection against sexually transmitted infections. Using a condom is sometimes referred to as "practicing safer sex". Condoms are the main methods of contraception which protect the users from STDs as well as unplanned pregnancy. Other barrier methods provide limited protection against STD infections in the upper genital tract, but do not protect other areas.
Advantages of all barrier methods 
Barrier methods of birth control:
Do not affect a woman's or man's future fertility. Are only used at the time of sexual intercourse. Are safe for a woman to use while she is breast-feeding. Do not affect other health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Are less expensive than hormonal methods of birth control, and some are available without a prescription. Condoms and diaphragms may reduce the risk of cervical cancer, which is caused by a sexually transmitted human papillomavirus. Condoms also are the best method for reducing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. A01370925
Disadvantages of all barrier methods 
Failure rates for barrier methods are higher than for most other methods of birth control. If you are considering using a barrier method for birth control, think through what the emotional and financial costs of an unintended pregnancy would be if the method fails.
To prevent pregnancy with a barrier method, you and your partner must be comfortable with using it and be prepared to use it every time you have sex. For some couples, barrier methods are not a good choice because one or both partners:
Find it embarrassing to use. Do not want a barrier method to interrupt foreplay or intercourse. Some people develop allergies to spermicides. But using spermicide is advised with diaphragms, cervical caps, or cervical shields. So if you can't use spermicide, you will need to find a different form of birth control.
For people who have an allergy to latex, polyurethane condoms are available. Latex condoms are slightly more dependable than polyurethane condoms. A01231763
See also 
- Dental dams have no contraceptive use, but offer STD protection during oral sex (see unprotected sex).
- Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition
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