By Ciara Corcoran
Condoms are the only form of contraception that protect against STIs and pregnancy. Besides abstinence, the best way to protect yourself from STIs is by using condoms. Condoms are readily available in most shops, chemists and also from the ULSU Welfare Office and reception.
Condoms are 95% effective at protecting against HIV and other STIs, as well as preventing pregnancy when used correctly. Always, ALWAYS wear a condom.
“The Pill” is 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, it must be taken at the same time every day; it is not effective if taken more than 12 hours late. It also offers no protection against HIV, other STIs and infections so be sure to use a condom for this.
Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)
Treatment is most effective if taken within the first 12 hours but can be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex. The morning after pill is available on prescription from your doctor, the medical centre or family planning clinics. The morning after pill can be 95% effective, however the effectiveness diminishes to 58% after 72 hours.
The easiest way to know if you are actually pregnant is to get a home pregnancy test. If your test results are positive then it is necessary to have them confirmed with your GP, a pregnancy agency or the UL Medical Centre.
If you are pregnant, it is a good idea to talk to somebody about your options. It is not the end of the world. The best resources are:
Students’ Union Welfare Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org or 061-202519
UL Counselling: CM-072 drop in 11-12 and 3-4 daily or 061-202327 anytime
Irish Family Planning Association: 1850-495051
Limerick Family Planning Clinic: 061-312026
Crisis Pregnancy Services: www.positiveoptions.ie or freetext LIST to 50444