Jamaicans urged to use dual methods of contraception
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The National Family Planning Board Sexual Health Authority (NFPBSHA) is encouraging Jamaicans to use dual methods of contraception for effective protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on February 15, NFPBSHA Director, Devon Gabourel, explained that the Authority has been pushing the message for a while and has chosen to expand its dual method message by using it as the theme for Safer Sex Week 2017.
“This year, we continue to drive our message on dual protection by using the theme, ‘Condom Plus Another Contraceptive Equals Ultimate Protection’, for Safer Sex Week, which is observed annually during the week of Valentine’s Day,” he said.
He explained that dual method use refers to using either a male or female condom at every act of sexual intercourse while also utilising another contraceptive method, such as the pill, the injection, the hormonal implant, or the intrauterine device, commonly known as the IUD.
“We know that these contraceptive methods are effective in preventing pregnancies but we must also remember that these methods do not protect against the transmission of HIV and other STDs” he pointed out, adding that the use of the male or female condom along with another contraceptive method will provide the ultimate protection.
According to Gabourel, data from the most recent Reproductive Health Survey revealed that almost half (47 per cent) of the births that occur in Jamaica are unplanned, mostly among the 15-24 age group.
He added that there is also an estimated 29,000 persons currently living with HIV with the highest increase in new infections coming from that same age group.
“This increase is consistent with the onset of sexual behaviour and although the age of consent is 16 years, 15-year-olds have been included in this figure because the national definition of youth begins at age 15 and the facts show that adolescents under the age of 16 are not only having sex but are also getting pregnant and contracting HIV and other STIs,” he noted.
According to the survey, the average age of sexual debut among young men in the 15-24 age group is 14 ½ and in young women it is 16.