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Contraception usage low in India: Survey

Posted on Sep 25, 04:30PM | IBNS

New data from the World Contraception Day (WCD) 2012 survey shows that 36pc of females in India had their first sexual intercourse when they were 24-29 years old.

It also reveals that the gap between the age a woman first has sexual intercourse and the age at which has her first pregnancy is less in India as 48pc of female respondents had their first pregnancy between 24-27 years.

This also points out the need for the use of reliable contraception for effective family planning and that contraception usage rates are still low in India.

Sponsored by Bayer HealthCare, a leader in women's healthcare, the multi-national survey 'Contraception: Looking to the future' involved over 800 respondents from eight countries in Asia.

Several key findings pointed to the increased need for young people to think ahead and build contraception into their future plans.

In 2012, contraceptive usage rate was still low, as 23pc of respondents did not use any contraception when they first had sexual intercourse.

In addition, 51pc of respondents currently use the male condom as a form of contraception, 23pc used no form of contraception.

It was also found that, 13pc of respondents currently rely on the withdrawal method, which is not known to be a reliable form of contraception, compared to a more effective form of contraception such as the oral contraceptive pill, whose efficacy stands at 99pc if used correctly.

Furthermore, a comparison of women's age at marriage showed that, it has been steadily increasing. In India the mean age of marriage in 1971 was 22 years while the mean age of marriage in 2011 was 26 years.

Another longitudinal comparison of the number of children per woman during her lifetime has shown a drastic decline.

According to the United Nations Population Division, the total fertility rate (TFR) has more than halved in the past 40 years.

According to the survey, only 52pc of respondents in India think that they both partners are responsible for contraception, which is the lowest among all countries in Asia. 20pc of males felt that neither parties are responsible for contraception.

"Obviously times have changed and we are seeing different trends, however the perception towards contraception is not changing with these trends," Vishwanath Koliwad, Secretary General, Family Planning Association of India (FPAI).

"It is also up to communities and society to make it possible for women to start conversations about contraception and make it accessible for everyone," said Koliwad.

For the first time, the annual WCD survey asked respondents about their long term family planning.

The most preferred contraceptive method for long-term family planning was the male condom.

Alarmingly though, almost 1 in 3 respondents did not see the need for contraceptives when it came to family planning or would rely on the withdrawal method. Results also show that 29pc of men and women have had unprotected sex at least once.

Dr. P.K Shah, President, FOGSI (Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India) explained, "I believe it all boils down to the need for education as people still mistakenly consider the withdrawal method to be a reliable contraceptive option.

"Furthermore, many insist that they do not need contraception, yet we are still seeing so many people rely on emergency contraception and drastic measures such as abortion."

42pc of the females respondents preferred to take a pill everyday to prevent pregnancy, while another 28pc prefers to use an intra-uterine device (IUD).

The survey revealed that among the respondents in India, 28pc of women have used the emergency contraception at least once in the last year.

"Together with FPAI and FOGSI, Bayer Zydus Pharma in India is working towards creating awareness on contraception. I urge every woman to take the future into their own hands especially beginning today on World Contraception Day," urged Angel-Michael Evangelista, Managing Director, Bayer Zydus Pharma.

"Talk to your partner and your doctor about a suitable contraceptive method that would complement your lifestyle and future plans," Evangelista said.

Key survey results - INDIA:

First sexual intercourse:

u 36pc of females had their first sexual intercourse when they were 24-29 years old, significantly higher than at least 3 countries.

u Overall, 55pc of the respondents used the Male condom when first having sexual intercourse.

Usage of contraception:

u 29pc of men and women have had unprotected sex at least once.

The most appealing contraceptive to females:

u 42pc of the female respondents prefer to take a pill everyday to prevent pregnancy, while another 28pc prefers to use an intra-uterine device (IUD), which is significantly higher than at least 3 countries.

Responsibility for contraception:

u Only 52pc of respondents think that they are both responsible for contraception, which is the lowest among all countries.

Usage of contraceptive methods:

u 51pc of respondents currently use the male condom as a form of contraception.