Bayer-funded study: teenage pregnancies remain alarmingly high.

October 2, 2017

A research conducted by GFK Healthcare recently found that despite an increase of access to information on healthy sex, teenage pregnancies remain alarmingly high. The study, funded by Bayer, polled around 3,000 adolescents on their attitudes toward sexuality and contraception.

A total of 3,013 young men and women from 15 countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific region, as well as Latin and North America participated in the study. They were given 9 questions and 11 statements asking them their views on sexuality and contraception.

According to WHO 41% of 208 million pregnancies worldwide are unplanned. 11% of all births are given by young women between the ages of 15 and 19. That’s about 16 million teenage pregnancies a year. In the ‘Youth and Contraception’ study, an alarming 25.1% of respondents stated that they were so unlikely to become pregnant that they didn’t need to use any method of contraception.

Much in the answers seems contradictory. On the one hand, the respondents agreed across all nationalities that the issue should be less of a taboo; yet surprisingly they also said they were able to talk about it with their partner without embarrassment. According to the study, in many countries schools and teachers are still the first to address the topic of sexuality and sex education. At the same time, the adolescents say they are not satisfied with this kind of sexuality education and prefer to get their information on the internet.

A cross-generation discussion seems to be difficult – regardless of people’s respective culture and life circumstances. So successful sexuality education evidently requires not only the transfer of knowledge as such, but also an opportunity to ask questions and exchange experience.

These results confirm the importance of the World Contraception Day (WCD): This campaign consists of many projects throughout the whole year and culminates at September 26 to generate maximum publicity.The expanding use of digital channels and social-media activities offer young people an opportunity to meet and exchange information online without revealing their name and face. The subject of contraception is also shared and distributed by ‘WCD ambassadors’, who discuss their views worldwide – not in a patronizing way, but as conversations between equals.

“World Contraception Day has taught us that passing on knowledge not only takes time, but that the campaign itself also needs to keep on learning,” Dr Michael Devoy, Chief Medical Officer, Bayer AG, said. “The campaign promotes an open dialogue and reacts with friendly, partnership-based expertise. Every adolescent who is well-informed and assumes self-determined responsibility for his or her family planning is a role model for others. The campaign gives these role models a platform.”

At the same time, the campaign also targets parents and teachers, healthcare providers and, last but not least, governments and decision-makers, encouraging them to also promote the subject at the political level. The number of international partners in the WCD Coalition has risen to an impressive 14 since its launch. Bayer was there from the start.

Sexuality education and contraception belong together. Self-determined family planning with unrestricted access to contraceptives, and knowing how to protect yourself from sexually-transmitted diseases, are essential if we are to move toward a world in which every pregnancy is a wanted pregnancy.

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Category: Education, Features

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