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The Contraceptive Patch Shows How Racism Is Embedded In Sexual Health

If you’re someone who can get pregnant, you’re probably familiar with the challenges of finding a contraceptive that works for you. From dealing with side effects, to remembering to take it, it’s a minefield.

The contraceptive patch is a widely used contraceptive method: it works by releasing oestrogen and progestin when you stick it on virtually any part of your body. These hormones stop ovulation, meaning there’s no egg for the sperm to meet. It also thickens the cervical mucus, which acts as a barrier to sperm. 

There are many reasons why someone might consider using the patch. It’s 99% effective with perfect use, and you only need to change it once a week (with one patch-free week), so you don’t need to remember to take it everyday. The patch can help your periods become lighter and less painful, and it’s even been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian, womb and bowel cancer. 

Given these benefits, how come the patch isn’t more popular? There’s many reasons, but the lack of diversity within its production is one of the largest issues – and probably the easiest to fix.