18 October 2011

More Teens Engage in Unprotected Sex

Teen Sex
Here's something that will make Catholic priests in the Philippines spin on their pulpit. A multinational study released on 26 September 2011 reported that young people across the globe are having more unprotected sex and know less about effective contraception options.

The "Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to be informed about contraception" study prepared for World Contraception Day (WCD) reports that the number of young people having unsafe sex with a new partner increased by 111 percent in France, 39 percent in the USA and 19 percent in Britain in the last 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 even today," a member of the WCD task force, Denise Keller, said in a statement with the results of the study.

"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," Keller said.

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

The level of unplanned pregnancies among young people is a major global issue, campaigners say, and the rise in unprotected sex in several counties has sparked concern about the quality of sex education available to youngsters.

In Europe, only half of respondents receive sex education from school, compared to three quarters across Latin America, Asia Pacific and the USA.

This situation is precisely why the Philippines is trying to pass the Reproductive Health Bill. The measure will introduce a new and applicable version of the sex education module in school.

For those who oppose the passage of a landmark measure, well, sorry if you're a poorly functioning individual and have trouble understanding the needs of poor families unlike an ordinary high-school dropout. The rest of the country needs better information than the one provided in the pulpit. Misconception about sex education and contraceptives is a dangerous, but widely spread concept.

In Egypt, for instance, more than a third of respondents of the study believed bathing or showering after sex will prevent pregnancy, and more than a quarter of those in Thailand and India believe that 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," spokeswoman for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Jennifer Woodside, said in a statement.

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