At the risk of making you feel as awkward as when your old (she was probably only in her 30s but seemed ancient at the time) high school teacher fired up the VHS and played an animated video of sperm swimming towards an egg: we’re going to talk about STIs (sexually transmissible infections).
More specifically, the startling ignorance of young Queenslanders and the fact they feel ‘protected’ against them by using the pill.
That’s right, according to a recent survey, published by Queensland Health as part of National Condom Day, 60 per cent of 17-29 year olds believe the pill provides protection against STIs.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
Firstly, let’s state some facts. The Contraceptive Pill works by stopping the release of eggs from a woman’s ovaries each month. It is 99.7 per cent effective.
It does not protect your bits from possible infection, such as chlamydia, genital herpes, HIV etc.
60% of recently surveyed 17-29 year olds believe the pill provides protection against STIs.
— Queensland Health (@qldhealthnews) February 14, 2018
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said it’s believed these ‘false beliefs’ and misunderstandings were believed to be contributing factors to the growing number of STI cases in Queensland.
“In 2017, we saw more than 23,000 notifications of chlamydia and almost 5,000 notifications of gonorrhoea, which is the highest we’ve seen in Queensland in the last five years,” Dr Young said.
“Although attitudes about using condoms are generally positive, the data also showed that condom use is motivated by a desire to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STI prevention is a secondary driver at best, and for only half of all condom users,” she explained.
“Despite these misconceptions, only 14 per cent of those surveyed considered themselves to be at risk of an STI.
“The truth is, if you are sexually active, you are at risk of an STI and condoms are the best form of protection from most STIs – this is the message we want Queenslanders to hear loud and clear.”
“Most STIs don’t have any symptoms, so you should get a check even if you don’t think anything is wrong.”