Wednesday, February 13, 2008
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It's better to be doubly safe than sorry

A new study carried out at Macquarie University revealed that 70 percent of Australian women surveyed were presently using a form of contraceptive and 15 percent of those surveyed were using not one but two forms of contraceptive.

The study carried out by Dr Nick Parr and Dr Stefania Siedlecky surveyed 3000 women aged between 18 and 44 on their contraceptive use.

The contraceptive pill was the most widely used method (39 percent), followed by the condom (28 percent). And many women (28 percent) opted for the even safer option of using the pill and condoms, providing maximum contraception while ensuring they were protected from STDs.

"Following its introduction in 1961, the oral contraceptive pill was rapidly adopted by Australian women, while the use of other methods, including condoms, declined," explain Parr and Siedlecky.

"However, the arrival of HIV/AIDS in Australia in 1982 focused attention on the public health implications of contraceptive use, particularly the importance of condom use. Consequently condom use increased."

"Condoms are the only contraceptive that protect against sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS for both men and women. However, since the condom alone is less effective as a contraceptive than hormonal methods and intrauterine devices (IUDs), the twin goals of preventing the spread of STIs and preventing unwanted pregnancy through the simultaneous use of both the pill and the condom — so-called dual protection — has been advocated."

The study indicates that most subgroups have adopted the use of the pill and increasingly the dual protection method. However, it appears that there is still a need for a more widespread use of condoms to help combat the rising rates of chlamydia and gonorrhoea, particularly among people living in remote Australia and for those of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

Adapted from materials provided by Macquarie University

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