Even though there are a variety of safe contraceptive options available, 41% of the 208 million pregnancies which occur each year are still unintended.
Key findings from a multinational survey by the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health last year are that unprotected sex is on the increase among young people across the globe. Although 80% of young people acknowledge their responsibility for arranging contraception before having sex with a new partner, 44% prioritised personal hygiene and applying perfume above contraception when preparing for a date that may lead to sex.
In an interview with the Sowetan this month, Departmental MEC Dikeledi Magadzi said substance abuse and teenage pregnancy could not be separated because they impacted on each other. She said those who abused intoxicants do not think and act rationally and were vulnerable to contracting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Watch what South Africans are saying about contraception
During these street interviews with South African teens and young adults, we hear what they are saying about contraception, what it would be like to have a baby right now and other sticky subjects. Scroll down to access the videos.
World Contraception day
According to the organizers of World Contraception Day (WCD) on 26 September, teens often don’t have sufficient information to make informed decisions on sexual and reproductive health. WCD is aimed at teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 and is a worldwide campaign with a vision for a world where every pregnancy is wanted. Under the motto “Life your life. Know your rights. Learn about contraception”, the theme for 2011 is “Your Right – your right to accurate (evidence-based) and balanced (unbiased) information”.
The WCD campaign is coordinated by international NGOs and scientific societies with an interest in sexual health, the WCD Youth Task Force and Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.
What you can do
According to the WCD team, young people are more likely to change the way they think and behave if they receive information from people they trust and respect. On their website www.yourlifenow.co.za, they invite the youth to interact with positive rolemodels.
If you are a parent, get advice on discussing sex and contraception in our series of articles:
Sex education – why and how?
The pill for your teen girl
The condom for your teen boy
Get information about contraception
The WCD website contains information on contraception to help young people in discussion with their healthcare professional, choose which option is right for them and their partner. Also visit Health24’s Contraception Centre for more information.
Chat to the experts
We have rounded up a panel of experts who can assist you with free advice. You can remain anonymous. Post a question to our:
Gay, lesbian and bisexual expert
(Ilse Pauw, Health24, September 2011)
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals. “Clueless or Clued up: Your right to be informed about contraception” (multi-national survey). Fieldwork carried out by GFK Healthcare. April-May 2011.
European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health
Matlala, A. Youth need help: Teen pregnancy, substance abuse and HIV are all linked. Sowetan, 8 September 2011.
Singh, S et al. Unintended pregnancy: Worldwide levels, trends and outcomes. Stud Fam Plann. 2010; 41(4): 241-250.