Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 8

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 8.1 (tests Learning Outcome 8.1)

What is the major difference between mechanical barriers and chemical barriers? In what circumstances is each most effective?

Answer

The major difference between mechanical barriers and chemical barriers is that mechanical barriers are devices that provide a physical barrier between the sperm and the egg, while chemical barriers act as sperm-killing substances. Barrier methods can be more effective when used together with other contraceptive methods, such as oral contraceptives. Spermicides can also be used together with other mechanical barriers.

SAQ 8.2 (tests Learning Outcomes 8.2, 8.3)

You have already learnt that condoms have a number of advantages. Discuss the unique advantage that they have over other contraceptive methods.

Answer

The unique advantage of condoms is that they can be used for birth control and at the same time prevent STIs, including HIV/AIDS.

SAQ 8.3 (tests Learning Outcome 8.3)

Counselling on the use of contraceptives is one of the services that you need to provide. During counselling, a client asks whether a male condom can be used more than once. She also asks if it can be used with the female condom, and if using two male condoms (one of top of the other) gives better protection. What are the key messages you should pass on?

Answer

The key messages to pass on when counselling clients who want to use male condoms are:

  • Used condoms should be thrown away after each sex act.
  • Male and female condoms should not be used at the same time.
  • Placing two male condoms on a penis increases the chance of tearing.

SAQ 8.4 (tests Learning Outcome 8.3)

What is the most common reason for breakage of a male condom? What can a couple do about it?

Answer

The most common reason for a male condom breaking is lack of enough lubrication from natural secretions, which results in increased friction. Increased friction in turn causes breakage. To overcome this, users are advised to use a water-based lubricant, such as KY jelly.

SAQ 8.5 (tests Learning Outcome 8.4)

Sometimes, using a female condom is more advantageous for the woman than relying on a male partner to wear a condom. Why? Give your reasons.

Answer

Using a female condom is more advantageous for the woman than relying on a male partner because it is the only female-controlled device offering protection against pregnancy, STIs and HIV/AIDS.

SAQ 8.6 (tests Learning Outcomes 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5 and 8.6)

Which of the following statements is false? In each case explain why it is incorrect.

A  Using male and female condoms at the same time gives more protection against pregnancy and STIs.

B  Wearing two condoms at a time can’t prevent breakage.

C  In order to prevent dryness and friction during sexual intercourse, you have to put on edible oil and vaseline.

D  The diaphragm is one of the least effective birth control methods. Besides, it cannot protect against STIs.

E  Spermicides can be used alone as a primary protection against pregnancy.

F  The mechanisms of action of both male and female condoms are the same, in that both provide a physical barrier between partners so that body fluids, such as semen and blood, are not shared.

G  Men should wait for the penis to become erect before they can safely wear a condom. This is not necessary for women, however.

Answer

A is false because wearing both male and female condoms at the same time can increase the likelihood of breakage, as a result of increased friction.

B is true. Wearing two condoms at a time cannot prevent breakage.

C is false because to prevent dryness during sexual intercourse, you should not use edible oil or Vaseline, but rather only water-based lubricants, such as KY jelly.

D is true. The diaphragm is one of the least effective birth control methods.

E is false because spermicides can only be really effective when used with other contraceptive methods, such as oral contraceptives, condoms and diaphragms.

F is true. Both male and female condoms act as physical barriers so semen and blood are not shared.

G is true. Men should wait for the penis to become erect before wearing a condom.

Summary of Study Session 8