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Barrier methods prevent pregnancy through the provision of a physical and/or chemical barrier to sperms. The methods include spermicidal foams, jellies, creams, and suppositories; male and female condoms; diaphragm; contraceptive sponge, and cervical cap. An important aspect of the use of barrier methods is whether the method provides simultaneous protection against pregnancy and STIs (dual protection).
However, the major disadvantage of barrier methods is that they are coital-related and require user-comfort or familiarity with his/her genitalia. The cost of barrier methods can also be prohibitive. Young people with allergies to material components or with an inability to use these methods consistently and correctly are not suitable candidates for these methods.
There are evidences of effectiveness of condoms in preventing STIs including HIV as well as pregnancy. For all barrier methods, use effectiveness tends to increase with increasing age. Given the transience of many adolescent relationships and the high probability of multiple, sequential sexual partners prior to marriage, condom is the single best protective option for many young people.