Young people are sexually active, it’s no secret. It’s therefore important for them to have access to the right information and tools to enable then live sexually healthy lives. This is a right they enjoy. These knowledge and tools include access to condoms, contraceptives, as well as general reproductive health services. This may be a subject of debate globally of course depending on the cultural context but the fact still remains, youth are having sex. We therefore need to at least reduce the risks they are exposed to.
We take a look at 3 common types of contraception recommended for young people.
In as much as we know that young people are having sex, the first advice to them and the surest way to guarantee protection against HIV, STIs and pregnancy is through abstinence. This entails avoiding sex in all its forms that is oral, vaginal or anal. Abstinence is a difficult choice for youth who have already started engaging in sexual intercourse but those who haven’t may find it much easier to practice.
2 Using birth control pills
Many people refer to birth control pills simply as “the pill”, with the assumption that there is only one kind. However, this is not the case. There are two types, the firs being combined oral contraceptive pills and the second being progestin-only pills. The difference is that the former works by stopping ovulation and by stopping the movement of sperm into the fallopian tube. Whereas the latter works by thickening the cervical mucus and thinning the uterus lining therefore preventing sperm from getting to the egg. The benefits of pills is that they will reduce the chances of getting pregnant however, they will not offer protection against HIV and STIs.
3 Use of condoms
Reproductive health experts recommend latex or polyurethane condoms as the most effective at preventing body fluids from two people mixing while they are having sex. When condoms are used correctly and consistently during sexual intercourse, whether vaginal or anal, they are very effective at preventing STIs, HIV as well as pregnancy. Young sexually active people are encouraged to learn the proper use of condoms so that they can enjoy their full protective benefits. Two of the main disadvantages of condoms are that they don’t provide complete protection against STIs such as syphilis, genital herpes, HPV or chancroid, because they can be transmitted through contact with infected skin surfaces that can’t be covered by a condom. Secondly, some people tend to be allergic to the latex on the condom. There are both male and female condoms but the female condom has proved not to be too popular therefore people mostly use male condoms.
It’s however important to advice young people that using contraceptives is not an excuse to be promiscuous. Contraceptives are just meant to make them more sexually responsible and reduce exposure to the many risks associated with sexual intercourse.
We invite you to share with us your experiences on youth and sexuality. Let’s join hands to transform the lives of our youth.