Wednesday 5 October 2011

Clueless About Contraception

It is unsurprising and hardly news when the results of a survey show that people know little about contraception. It may be due to the lack of sex education but it may also be due to the high-profile media attention of celebrities who are caught cheating.

Although the media attempt to make sex scandals glossy, the media never put 2 and 2 together. Sadly, the media gloss over the fact that celebrities caught cheating do not usually use condoms (e.g. Tiger Woods and Boris Becker are examples from the sporting world). If kids are fed an unhealthy diet of celebrity sexual affairs without discussion of the consequences of having unprotected and unsafe sex, then the social perception may be that the use of condoms is the norm.

We can thank the media, and people like Tiger Woods and Boris Becker for this. If these individuals and organizations have any common decency and social responsibility, they should put out messages of remorse and regret about their unsafe sex practices.

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The young and the clueless (The Standard)
Alice Baghdjian
Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Young people across the globe are having more unprotected sex and know less about effective contraception options, a survey revealed.

The "Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to be informed about contraception" study reports that the number of young people having unsafe sex with a new partner increased by 111 percent in France, 39 percent in the United States and 19 percent in Britain in the past three years.

"No matter where you are in the world, barriers exist which prevent teenagers from receiving trustworthy information about sex and contraception, which is probably why myths and misconceptions remain so widespread," said Denise Keller, a member of the World Contraception Day task force.

"When young people have access to contraceptive information and services, they can make choices that affect every aspect of their lives which is why it's so important that accurate and unbiased information is easily available for young people to obtain."

The survey, commissioned by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and endorsed by 11 international nongovernment organizations, questioned more than 6,000 young people from 26 countries including Chile, Poland and China, on their attitudes toward sex and contraception.

In Europe, only half of respondents receive sex education from school, compared with three quarters across Latin America, Asia Pacific and the United States. Many respondents also said that they felt too embarrassed to ask a health-care professional for contraception.

"Young people are telling us they are not receiving enough sex education or the wrong type of information," said Jennifer Woodside, spokeswoman for the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

"The results show 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 sexually transmitted infections."

In Egypt, more than a third of respondents in the study, prepared for World Contraception Day on September 26, believe bathing or showering after sex will prevent pregnancy, and more than a quarter in Thailand and India believe having intercourse during menstruation is an effective form of contraception.

But the fact that many young people engage in unprotected sex and the prevalence of harmful myths should not come as a surprise, Woodside said.

"How can young people make decisions that are right for them, if we do not empower them and enable them to acquire the skills they need to make those choices?" she said.


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