Unprotected Sex Vs Contraceptive Uses

Unprotected Sex Vs Contraceptive

The survey involved 26 countries and 5,426 young people in Asia Pacific (including India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan), Europe, Latin America. The third annual multi-national survey, exploring young people's attitudes to sex and contraception, has been launched today to mark World Contraception Day (WCD) 2011, which takes place every year on September 26. WCD is an initiative sponsored by Bayer HealthCare and was globally launched in 2007.The survey, entitled 'Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to be informed about contraception,' has shown alarmingly high levels of unprotected sex amongst young people as well as poor knowledge of effective contraceptive options. Furthermore, respondents are avoiding asking healthcare professionals about contraception through embarrassment and many cannot rely on their schools to provide comprehensive sex education.

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The survey involved 26 countries and 5,426 young people in Asia Pacific (including India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan), Europe, Latin America and the

USA as well as 600 people in Egypt, Kenya and Uganda and is supported by the WCD Youth Task Force and a coalition of 11 international organizations with an interest in sexual health.

The results are significant as the level of unplanned pregnancies is a major global concern, particularly amongst young people. Worldwide, approximately 41% of the 208 million pregnancies which occur each year are unintended. In addition to this, one in 20 adolescent girls gets a bacterial infection through sexual contact every year and the age at which infections are acquired is becoming younger and younger.

Speaking on the results of the survey, Dr Rajat Ray, Chairperson, Public Awareness Committee, Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) said, "What the results show is that too many young people either lack good knowledge about sexual health, do not feel empowered enough to ask for contraception or have not learned the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies or STIs. The survey brings out the fact that young people are not receiving enough sex education or are exposed to the wrong type of information about sex and sexuality. Young people need to be empowered with adequate knowledge and skills, enabling them to make the choices and decisions that are right for them and protect them from unwanted pregnancy and STIs."

Statistics show that more than 40% of young people in Australia, Chile, Colombia, Great Britain, Indonesia, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, Sweden and Turkey have already had unprotected sex with a new partner – this figure rises to over 50% in China, Estonia, Kenya, Korea, Norway and Thailand. In India the number of respondents that confirmed having had sexual intercourse with a new partner without using contraception is as high as 72%.

When asked why they had had unprotected sex with a new partner, 15% of respondents across Asia Pacific and 14% in Europe said they did not like contraception and 16% in Asia Pacific said their partner preferred not to use it. 32% of the Indian respondents gave the reason that they felt they were not at the risk of pregnancy. Across Asia Pacific the main reason respondents could not get contraception when they needed it was because they were too embarrassed to ask a healthcare professional (42%). In India 40 % respondents cited this as a problem.

In Europe, Latin America and the USA around half of respondents said they felt very well informed about contraceptive options (46%, 53% and 53% respectively) – this figure was considerably lower in the African countries and Asia Pacific where only a quarter of people felt this way (27% and 25% respectively). Alarmingly, around 50% in India said they were not very familiar with the different contraceptive options available to them.

Many respondents who reported that they had experienced problems obtaining contraception when they needed it said that this was because they did not know which method to look for (Latin America 23%, Asia Pacific 22%). In India almost 70% use a condom, 44% take the contraceptive pill, almost 40% consult a doctor and 34% withdraw the penis before ejaculation. Having sex during menstruation is considered an effective form of contraception by more than a quarter of young people in Thailand and India (28% and 26% respectively).

According to the survey, there are many countries where sex education is not provided. Overall in Europe around half of respondents receive sex education (55%) compared to three quarters in Latin America (78%), Asia Pacific (76%) and the USA (74%). Even in areas where young people are more likely to receive sex education, there are reports of teachers providing information about contraception that the respondents later realized was inaccurate or untrue (Colombia 29%, Estonia 18%, Korea 16%, Great Britain 14% and Mexico 14%) or of the environment at school not being conducive to asking questions about sexuality and intimacy (Asia Pacific 22%, Europe 20%, Latin America 14%). The survey in India revealed that 1/3 got false information about contraception/preventing pregnancy in the past, where the main source of wrong information was found to be friends (almost 30%)

With the exception of Kenya, Uganda and Egypt, in all regions websites and blogs are the preferred source of information on contraception. Within Europe, with the exception of France and Italy, over half of young people use the internet to get information about contraceptive options.

Vishwanath Koliwad, Secretary General, Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) said "Lack of right information on contraception, leading to non-use or inaccurate use is a huge issue in India. The emotional, physical and financial impact of having an unplanned child can be far reaching, and can have lifetime implications. This is why both men and women need to take family planning seriously and should share the responsibility of making informed choices."

World Contraception Day is a worldwide campaign with a vision for a world where every pregnancy is wanted. Its mission is to improve awareness of contraception to enable young people to make informed decisions on sexual and reproductive health.

WCD is an initiative sponsored by Bayer HealthCare and was globally launched in 2007. The Company is a world leader in the field of hormonal contraceptives, and is involved in staging activities in over 70 countries worldwide on this day. In India, Bayer Zydus Pharma, in collaboration with Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) & Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), intends to promote a vision where every child is born by choice, and not by chance.

World Contraception Day 2011, under the motto 'Live Your Life, Know your rights. Learn about contraception,' focuses on the right of young people to access accurate and unbiased information about contraception in order to prevent an unplanned pregnancy or STI.

- India Infoline, Sep 26, 2011


Ozg Healthcare Project Consultant

Email: healthcare.consultant@ozg.co.in



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