LARC: long acting reversible contraception

Using a long-acting reversible contraception, sometimes called a LARC, along with a condom is the most effective way to protect against unplanned pregnancy and STIs.

LARCs include contraceptive methods like the contraceptive injection, the contraceptive implant and intrauterine devices and systems (IUD/IUS).

LARC is around 99 per cent effective at preventing an unplanned pregnancy and lasts a long time.

The contraceptive implant is about the size and shape of a matchstick. The implant releases hormones into the body to prevent pregnancy. The hormone keeps the ovaries from releasing an egg and also thickens the cervical mucus to stop sperm from getting into the uterus to find an egg. A nurse or doctor inserts the implant into your upper arm. It can provide up to three years of protection against pregnancy.

The IUD is a small piece of flexible plastic. A health care provider inserts the IUD into the uterus. Some IUDs have copper wire, while others release hormones into the body. Both make it difficult for sperm to get to an egg. IUDs can last for years depending on which one a person has inserted. Some last for up to five years and some for up to 10. When a person is ready to have a baby, a health care provider can remove the IUD and a person is able to get pregnant after that.

While all of these contraceptive methods are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, none protect against STIs. So it’s important to also use a condom when you have sex.

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