World Contraception Day
Yesterday was World Contraception Day (WCD).
26 September 2011 | The Citizen
Yesterday was World Contraception Day (WCD).
This worldwide campaign centres on a vision for a world where every pregnancy is wanted.
Launched in 2007, WCD’s mission is to improve awareness of contraception to enable young people to make informed choices regarding their sexual and reproductive health.
WCD 2011 is aimed at parents and teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19.
In South Africa, this age group has one of the highest incidences of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies and they are often the most inexperienced with regards to using contraception.
While it may be somewhat controversial, in light of the exceptionally high numbers of unwanted pregnancies in this age group, the campaign focuses on encouraging teenagers to take responsibility for contraception under the motto Live Your Life. Know your rights. Learn about contraception.
In South Africa, WCD 2011 focuses on the need to encourage young people to exercise their right to search for accurate, unbiased information about contraception to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. It further aims to provide credible information on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – because as much as unwanted pregnancies are very rife, so is the increased rate of preventable STDs.
Talking to your teenager about contraception
Knowing how to talk to your teenager about contraception is an awkward moment for many parents.
You want to be cool about it, but you feel strangely ancient.
You want to be relaxed and open, but you’re suddenly on high alert for any clue about their sex life although you don’t really want to know the details either.
If you feel uncomfortable about it, you can bet your teenager does too, whether they show it by being offhand, flippant, giggly or even moodier than usual.
So it’s up to you to set the tone, by being relaxed and open to discussion, rather than launching into a lecture or avoiding the issue altogether.
Consider the following
In South Africa, teenage pregnancies are at a crisis level.
Many young people aged under 16 are sexually active – and this is the group least likely to use contraception.
There would be fewer teenage pregnancies if more parents talked to their children about sex and contraception.
Besides unwanted and unplanned pregnancies – STDs and HIV infection are a real risk.
When talking to your teenager
When talking to your teenager one of the most important and fundamental points to get across is that each person is individually responsible for contraception.
Teenagers can be scarily mature in some respects, while in others they remain childish and self-centred.
“It was his job to wear the condom, it’s not my fault” is one of those arguments you just don’t want to be having with your pregnant teenage girl.
Conversely, hearing your teenage son declare, “Well it’s not me who gets pregnant, so it’s not my problem,” is enough to strike a chill into any parent’s heart.
Some methods work better than others
The most effective way to prevent pregnancy is abstinence. However, many teenage girls become pregnant because they have sex anyway but don’t use protection.
So it’s a good idea even for people who don’t plan to have sex to be informed about birth control.
Couples who do have sex need to use birth control properly and every time to prevent pregnancy.
Types of contraception to discuss
A very important point is to explain to your teenager the difference between contraception that’s effective in preventing pregnancies and contraception that protects against sexually transmitted diseases.
A secondary birth control method, such as a condom, should be used along with taking the pill or injections.
A condom is the only contraceptive considered highly effective in reducing the risk of STDs such as Chlamydia and HPV (which can cause genital warts and cervical cancer) as well as Herpes, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Hepatitis and HIV.
Teens may have a know- it-all attitude about life, but they usually do not have the correct information they need to make informed choices when it comes to preventing unwanted pregnancies.
If you’re not sure about all the types of birth control available on the market, or sure which birth control method is best for your teenager, make an appointment for your daughter to discuss the various methods with a doctor.
But, while it is helpful to involve a doctor in the discussion on birth control, don’t expect the doctor to provide all the information.
Talking about how to handle sexual relationships with a teenage daughter will still be up to the parent, and it is an important part of any discussion on birth control.
Tags: World Contraception Day