A worldwide survey conducted World Contraceptive day found that the number of teenagers that participate in unprotected sex with new partners has increased in the past three years. The poll surveyed 6,000 teens from 26 different countries. The level of unplanned pregnancies among young people is a global issue and the rise in unprotected sex in several counties has sparked concern about the quality of sex education available to youngsters.
Jennifer Woodside of the International Planned Parenthood Federation said: "What the results show is that too many young people either lack good knowledge about sexual health, do not feel empowered enough to ask for contraception or have not learned the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies or STIs (sexually transmitted infections)."
Carol Le Roux, a nurse at the Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth, said that the most common reason for not using contraceptives is the lack of preparedness for sexual activity. Another reason is that there was no contraceptive available at the time of intercourse.
Pupils that attend school say that they do not feel comfortable with asking questions about sexuality and intimacy at school. Excuses made for not using protection when having sex includes, being too embarrassed to ask a health-care provider for contraceptives, one or another partner preferring not to use contraception, being too drunk to remember to use a condom, and that it is “not cool”.
Olga Van Wyk, from Livingstone Hospital, said that there are alarming amounts of under-aged pregnancies. She said that girls come to the Hospital seeking help, unaware that Livingstone would not be able to assist them. Teenagers that require abortions will be referred to Dora Nginza Hospital, and then they would be put on a waiting list. Some patients have to go back a few times before being helped and this might also be the reason why illegal abortions take place.
Dora Nginza visited a Primary School in Zwide a few weeks ago and injected the girls with contraceptives from the age of 10. Most of these pupils were had not yet started menstruating. Although it is unethical, it was also understood to be in response to the high pregnancy rate that has surfaced.
The biggest consequences to these young individuals are getting pregnant. Children are ignorant when hearing about STI’s that can also be attached. The general thought is that “It’ll never happen to me”. An estimated 5.6 million people were living with HIV and AIDS in South Africa in 2009, more than in any other country.1 It is believed that in 2009, an estimated 310,000 South Africans died of AIDS.2 Prevalence is 17.8 percent among those aged 15-49, with some age groups being particularly affected.