Thursday, October 29, 2009

Q & A: "we would like to have sex without a condom"

Q. I've recently started a relationship with an AIDS-free
woman and we would like to have sex without a condom. I've
forgotten everything I learned in freshmen health class about a
woman's period and pregnancy risk. Can a women get pregnant while
she has her period? How many days after her period ends can we
have unprotected sex without fear of pregnancy.
-- KW

A. A woman ovulates 14 days prior to when her period begins.
Therefore, her most fertile time of the cycle is a few
days before and after ovulation. The difficulty with using rhythm
or calendar methods of contraception is that any woman can vary
from month to month in the timing between onset of the period and
when she next ovulates. This is why women's menstral cycles can
vary from between 21 and 40 days, or more. A woman with a 21-day
cycle will be fertile during her period, and a woman with a
42-day cycle will be fertile one month after her period began.

Therefore, I would advise always using a contraceptive. Unless
you can be absolutely sure that you are, and will be, in a
monogamous relationship, I would advise using a condom along with
a contraceptive cream, foam or suppository in the woman's vagina.
Using a Nonoxyl-9 containing spermicide with the condom
significantly reduces the risk of pregnancy in case of condom
leakage, breakage, or slippage. Remember that AIDS is not the
only sexually transmitted disease, and that condom use protects
against transmission of all STD's.

-- S. Yates

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