Recent research has shown that thousands of women are regularly putting their sexual health at risk, particularly after a night out, by relying on emergency hormone contraception – “the morning after pill” – as their regular form of contraception. This, like many other forms of contraception, is not guaranteed to be 100% effective, but it is designed to be used only if other forms have failed, not to be used regularly.
Whilst the morning after pill may help in preventing pregnancy, it offers no protection of other aspects of sexual health, such as STIs. With over 200,000 cases of Chlamydia diagnosed in 2010, it is important that when choosing contraception that the risk of STIs is also taken into consideration, as condoms can reduce the risk considerably, whereas other methods do not.
Some people may argue that the rise in cases of Chlamydia and other STIs being diagnosed is due to increased screening, particularly in sexual health clinics. Whilst this may partly be the case, the levels of STIs being diagnosed, particularly in the under 25 age group, is alarming and all people – women in particular- need to be aware that the risks to their sexual health do stretch further than pregnancy, and the morning after pill cannot help with this.
There has been a lot reported over recent years about the risk young people put on their sexual health. We have seen teen pregnancies and STI’s increase. One of the reasons for this increase is the increase in binge drinking amongst the young of today. The culture has become to go out and get drunk as quickly as possible removing any self control which can have far more reaching repercussions than just passing out at the end of the night.
It is no coincidence that STI’s and teen pregnancies are rising in a very similar way to binge drinking. In fact it doesn’t take a genius to know that the young’s sexual health can be protected at the same time as protecting the young’s health in general by tackling binge drinking. Eliminate this and there will be without doubt a reduction in all sorts of things from liver disease to STI’s.
So maybe the future is to not look at the problems of teen’s sexual health and the things they get up to as a separate problem from that of binge drinking and even increased weight in some. It is time to tackle them as different branches of the same problem. Only by seeing why there is this type of behaviour can be eliminate it and help the young in many different ways.
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